An early defensive lapse from the Fighting Miners on Saturday allowed regional rival Ballarat to secure a win during round three of the Rugby Victoria season.
Miners made the trip across the goldfields to Delacombe to take on the Highlanders where they had early use of a strong breeze and slop, but unable to fully capitalise on the opportunity.
Highlanders took early control of their territory by scoring a first-minute try and a 36-minute penalty to take an 8-0 lead over the Miners going into the main break.
In what had been a strong showing from the Miners in the first half, their defence and dominance at scrums helped keep the the Miners within reach for the second.
Once play resumed the Highlanders wasted no time in claiming uncontested scrums which put an end to an area of play which Bendigo had shown strength earlier in the game.
The hosts kept delivering on the scoreboard with three long-range tries pulled off against the run of play with Bendigo's only response being a try from five-eight David Gudge.
However, it wasn't enough to come back from the Highlanders' lead and the Miners would see out the game 7-27.
Among the Miners best players of the game were Gudge, number eight Dave McDonald, winger Jim Price and newcomer Matt Situlia.
The Miners are now 0-3 for the season but will look to get a win on the board next week when they hit the road for Melbourne.
They will take on the Northern Panters at C H Sullivan Memorial Park at 1.15pm.
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