A GROWING injury list is the last thing Dorchester head coach Martyn Peel needs right now, but he is confident he has got the players to make the step up to first-team duty at home to Wimborne tomorrow (2.30pm).
The disappointment of last weekend’s 26-5 loss to North Dorset was made worse by injuries to prop Steve Hodgson (thumb) and wing Jamie Morgan (face).
They will miss the clash with Wimborne, fourth in Southern Counties South, as does club stalwart Rich Bament after he picked up a knock to his ankle in the warm-up before that match in Gillingham last time out.
However, Peel has every faith in those second XV men who are likely to be called up to provide cover for the likes of Hodgson, Morgan and Bament.
Young players such as James McQuillan and Ed Grassby are on the fringes of first XV action and are hoping to make the same impact as back-row Sam Jones.
The former lock continues to impress in his first season of senior rugby and seems to have added extra ball carrying to his excellent all-round work rate.
“It’s not been an easy week”, said Peel. “However, the silver lining is that our second team are still on-song so the players stepping up will come full of confidence.
“They also deserve their chance. We gave Wimborne a real run for their money in November and I expect us to do the same this week.”
In the same division, Swanage & Wareham are away to bottom club Ivel Barbarians (2.30pm).
Bridport are also on the road in Dorset & Wilts One South when they travel to top-of-the-table Blandford (2.30pm).
Dorchester Seconds make the trip to North Dorset in Dorset & Wilts Two South to face the Gillingham side’s third XV (3pm).
The knock-on effect of injuries in the first team means Tom Evans’ squad will be given a tough test, though they are flying in the league with five straight wins.
Evans said: “The pack will generally look after itself and we’ll be as positive as we can be in the backs.
“Wing and full-back is not an issue so we just need to make sure we give them enough ball to play with.”
Table-toppers Lytchett Minster host Weymouth Seconds (3pm), who will be looking to bounce back from their derby defeat to Dorchester.
Meanwhile, Bridport Seconds go to league leaders Ellingham & Ringwood in Dorset & Wilts Four (2.30pm).