Having played their last competitive league game in March 2020, Dorchester’s 1st XV begin the 2021/22 season, newly promoted to Tribute Southern Counties, against Swindon this Saturday.

Kick off at 2.30pm. In memory of former Club Captain, Dan Thorne who passed away on Tuesday, the club will celebrate his large part in it’s success with a minutes applause before kick-off.

Due to several conflicting factors, the County town outfit have only managed to get two pre-season games under their belts, so this Saturday is likely to be a tough match against a team who came third in the last Southern Counties table.

Head coach Josh Ovey is keen for the team to play to its strengths and to be very organised and disciplined in its approach. With some new faces in the team and new partnerships still gelling, the experienced members of the squad will need to be a calming influence and lead from the front.

Dorset Echo: Dorchester Rugby Club's Chris Elliott Picture: Tim BeavisDorchester Rugby Club's Chris Elliott Picture: Tim Beavis

Ovey gives Scot Clarke his 1st XV debut at Hooker, and the starting line-up also has Steve Tucker and Ed Grassby returning to the club in the back row along with scrum half Louis Allen.

There are some familiar faces from last season, the inimitable Chris Elliott at tight head prop and Josh Hosford in the forwards along with both Jamie Morgan and club record try scorer James Baker looking to pick up more points.

The club’s 2nd XV also plays at Surcouf Park kicking off at 1.30pm against Wimborne 2nd XV in the Tribute Dorset & Wilts 2 South League. Before the match there will be a minute of applause in memory of the Wimborne Chair Chris Leaton who recently passed away.

Action for the club commences on Friday evening with its 3rd XV Gladiators side heading over the border to Chard for a friendly game, giving some former Colts their first senior game and providing that all important transitional link once more. Club Captain Tony O’Connell will lead the team into action.

Surcouf Park will once again welcome the eager chatter and noise of the Junior section on Sunday, back into competitive action again for the first time in over a year.