DEVIZES suffered a frustrating 22-12 defeat at Combe Down on Saturday, and consequently lost ground on Southern Counties South promotion chasing teams Grove and Swindon.

The visitors travelled without prop Josh Vizard, which meant a shift from hooker to prop for veteran Seb Hutchings.

Will Hine acted as hooker, allowing Sam Holloway in at flanker. The backs were also forced to shift around because of injuries sustained the previous week - Jordan Walker came into outside centre, Robbie McLean made his first start of the season at fly half and Oli Bird started on the wing.

Playing down the slope in the first half with the advantage of the wind, Devizes were disappointed to end the first 40 minutes only four points ahead.

Combe Down played well and kept possession throughout, however the Devizes defence held firm.

Devizes were having a lot of joy in the scrums - and despite consistent offences in the red zones, the home side remained unscathed.

The half’s key moment came inside the final 10 minutes, where Kieran Hiscock eventually bundled play over the line following a lengthy period of sustained pressure – O’Connor kicked the extras.

After the break, now playing up the hill and into the wind, Devizes extended their lead.

A long kick to the corner saw a destructive maul pierce the Combe Down defence and it was that man Hiscock who surfaced from the pile of bodies for his second score of the day to make it 12-3.

But from this moment, Devizes failed to adjust to conditions and therefore Combe Down excelled.

Four Combe Down penalties at various distances were all converted by the accurate place kicking of the hosts’ fly half to edge the home side into a 15-12 lead.

And just as Devizes were looking at another promising attack, Combe Down counter-attacked along the wing leaving Devizes short of numbers in defence. The consequent try was converted.

Despite their best efforts to reduce the deficit, Devizes couldn’t get any further score for a losing bonus point.

The Saddlebacks are next in action at home to Corsham on Saturday (2.15pm).

Elsewhere in Southern Counties South, Corsham couldn’t gain any ground between themselves and fourth-from-bottom Walcot.

That was after struggling Corsham slipped to a narrow 19-17 loss away to Yeovil.