Dorchester 9 NORTH DORSET 15
FOR 70 minutes it looked as though Dorchester were going to rain on North Dorset’s promotion parade but in the end the visitors had just enough to snatch victory and become worthy champions.
The opening exchanges were inconclusive, with most of the play around the centre of the pitch at Coburg Road.
The match progressed into the second quarter and the visitors’ discipline was found wanting as Dorchester refused to allow North Dorset to dictate the play and James Baker kicked two out of three penalty attempts.
Right at the close of the first half, the Southern Counties South leaders finally got into the home 22 and, from an attacking line-out, attempted to drive over.
Dorchester halted the drive but when the ball was handed to the backs, the left winger had enough pace to get over in the corner.
The conversion was missed and the break came with the county town side holding the narrowest of leads.
The second half continued in much the same manner – North Dorset trying to play an expansive game, with Dorchester tackling everything that moved.
As tension mounted, several scuffles broke out as the visitors became increasingly frustrated at their inability to break through the home defence.
Eventually, with just 10 minutes remaining, the pressure finally told and the hosts ran out of defenders, allowing the right winger to cross halfway out.
Minutes later another well executed three-quarter move made the game, and promotion, safe for the visitors with another try in the corner.
The game was lost but Dorchester went in search of the losing bonus point.
A superb break from Toby Waddington took play to the shadow of the posts, where North Dorset killed the ball and gave away the penalty.
Baker’s successful kick earned what could be a crucial point to keep his side in with a chance of bagging the sole play-off berth.
Dorchester: Warren, Chalker, Cottell (Bamlet 60), C Mitchell, Skidmore (King 50), Miners, Newsam, Bonner (Vivian 60), D Gower, Bament, Baker, Wadding-ton, Harvey, T Gower, Clark.
Man of the Match: Lee Harvey