ELLINGHAM & RINGWOOD II 43 DORCHESTER II 34
DORCHESTER Seconds were left thinking what might have been following defeat in an 11-try thriller at Ellingham & Ringwood.
Three contentious decisions by the referee ultimately decided the outcome and the county town had every reason to feel hard done by after a gallant second-half display.
Not only did the official appear to miss two obvious knock-ons but he also overruled the home touch judge about a foot in touch, all of which resulted in three converted tries in the following play.
That said Dorchester were also guilty of falling off too many tackles and allowing the home side to play a very effective offloading game.
After an even first 15 minutes, the home side ran the ball from deep in their own half and, with Dorchester’s defence missing, scored a try of good quality.
Minutes later, an almost identical move saw the home side double their advantage before the visitors hit back with a Harry Smith penalty.
Ellingham continued the pressure though and touched down again but the final minutes of the half belonged to Dorchester with Matt Fry eventually forcing his way over and Dan Cree adding the extras.
Some tactical moves at half-time saw Smith move to scrum-half and John Bowden switch to the back row. This gave Dorchester some much-needed balance to their side and there was certainly more urgency to their game.
Despite conceding a try against the run of play, the visitors started the comeback led by Ian Dixon, who was in rampaging form.
First, second-row Laurence Burch drove over before Rich Deakin got the first of his two tries, which was converted by Cree. These were separated by a penalty from the home side making it 31-22.
Again the visitors allowed their line to be breached before Smith made a sniping run to cut the deficit with Cree again adding the extras.
Then, with the home side on the attack, the winger clearly put a foot in touch, which was flagged, but even with the home players alerting the referee, the subsequent touchdown was still awarded.
Dorchester had the final say though, with a concerted effort in the last 10 minutes that saw Deakin grab his second score.
Unfortunately, the kick drifted wide and with it the hope of a losing bonus point to go with the try bonus already secured.
This game saw the welcome return of Jamie Morgan and also the debut or teenage back rower Henry Dale, who gave a good account of himself.
Highwood Man of the Match: Ian Dixon