OAKMEADIANS 29 Dorchester 54
DORCHESTER are one victory away from earning a place in South West One East after securing a play-off spot on a dramatic final day of the season.
The county town side went into their match at Oakmeadians knowing they needed a maximum points win, and for Sherborne to slip up at Trowbridge.
With that in mind, the visitors made a bright start and opened the scoring inside five minutes. Their superior pack putting down the marker at the first scrum, and quick ball seeing Matt Read go over in the right corner, with James Baker adding the extras.
The Oaks replied almost immediately by landing a penalty, but a home infringement on the restart allowed Baker to restore the seven-point cushion.
However, it was all-square 20 minutes in as missed tackles enabled the hosts to grab a converted try.
By now the Dorchester pack was intimidating the opposition, and after Lee Harvey crossed the whitewash, a turnover at a scrum saw the county town side drive the hosts a full 22 metres before Matt Bonner touched down.
Dorchester seemed to have settled into a rhythm and the final play of the half saw Harvey score his second of the afternoon to put the away side 25-10 in front.
Bonner was forced to leave the field in the second half and this, along with other changes, saw a determined Oakmeadians team reply with two further converted scores to bring them to within a point at 25-24.
This seemed to galvanise Dorchester and they went on to notch four more tries – two from James Newsam and one apiece for Rich Bament and John Warren, with Baker converting one of the scores.
Oakmeadians managed to breach the try-line once more, only for visiting skipper Dave Gower to respond in kind with a try that Bament converted.
Having secured the win there were scenes of jubilation as news filtered through that Sherborne had suffered a 24-17 defeat, lifting Martin Oxland’s men into second place.
The county town outfit will now face Southern Counties North runners-up Milton Keynes on April 28 in a winner-takes-all clash in Buckinghamshire.
The Dorchester joy continued as the second team clinched the Dorset & Wilts Three South title with a 39-3 victory at Oakmeadians Thirds.
Dorchester: Warren, Chalker, Cottell, Skidmore, King, Miners, Newsam, Bonner, D Gower, Bament, Baker, Waddington, Harvey, T Gower, Read. Replacements: Vivian, Croft, Mitchell.