DEVIZES’ trip to Southern Counties South promotion hopefuls Frome was always likely to be a stiff task, and so it proved as they returned home empty handed having suffered a 31-5 loss.

Conditions, much like in all other games across the south-west, were appalling. Frome’s pitch was scattered with standing water, though both teams took to the task admirably.

Devizes travelled with back row Craig Bryant returning to the squad while former first-team skipper Rory Brown made a welcome return following a long injury layoff.

Due to a lack of backs available, usual back rower Leighton Osborne converted to the centres.

From the off, Devizes kicked down the slope with the wind behind them and for the first 15 minutes took to the conditions well.

However, prop Sub Hutchings and then Rhys Harries were lost to injury just after the 20 minute mark had passed. Losing both players certainly disrupted Devizes’ flow, especially when replacement prop Richard Burton was sent to the sin bin for an offence at the breakdown.

Consequently, Frome grabbed two quickfire tries to lead 12-0. Bryant was then too lost to injury shortly after the hosts registered their second.

With no other replacements to bring on, director of rugby Joe Alford played on the wing.

Devizes had hardly touched the ball, such was the tenacity shown by the Frome pack who were playing good rugby in these challenging conditions.

The second half saw much of the same rugby played.

Frome managed the conditions well and showed good handling skills to keep possession which saw them inch their way up the field.

The hosts held possession remarkably well, and scored tries three and four to secure a bonus point before a fifth soon after made it 31-0.

Devizes rallied in the final 10 minutes and enjoyed their best spell of the match, despite the result being a forgone conclusion.

Excellent carries from skipper Lewis Paget and his brother Charlie concluded in Kieran Hiscock grounding the ball.

Defeat for Devizes meant they dropped down the table into seventh after Combe Down poached a draw away to North Dorset.

Devizes have a week off before hosting Walcot on Saturday, February 29, at 2.30pm.