DESPITE falling to a heavy 61-24 defeat to Tribute Southern Counties South league leaders Devizes there were several reasons not to be too downhearted with the performance for Dorchester at Surcouf Park.

The home forwards more than held their own, having the upper hand at both the scrum and line-out, but missed tackles meant the county town outfit were always on the back foot.

Two early tries for Devizes set the pattern, both converted by the visitors’ excellent place kicker.

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Dorchester did look dangerous with ball in hand and James Baker finished well in the left-hand corner. Three further tries for Devizes put the game to bed before Callum King forced his way over from close range. Baker added the extras to end the first half.

Dorchester continued to battle through the second period, but Devizes had too much pace for Dorchester’s scratch back division.

Two more converted tries stretched the lead further before Callum King added his second and Dorchester’s third try. Two yellow cards temporarily reduced Dorchester to 13 men and allowed Devizes to add two more converted tries.

Back to 15 players Dorchester launched one more attack, Bradley Mullins made good ground and when the ball went loose over the Devizes line full-back Freddie Marsden was on hand to touch down and earn Dorchester a bonus point.

Man-of-the-match was Dorchester’s young scrum-half Jack Hayward with another fine performance.

Far from disappointed, head coach Josh Ovey said: “We were ultimately outpaced in open play, although we dominated the set-piece for large parts with our scrum and line-out, this remains a strong weapon for us still.

“However, Devizes were quicker and fitter with some great handling skills and well-worked offload game plan. Showing the heart and fight we did, meant we were again able to claim a well-deserved bonus point from the league leaders yet again.”

Compared to the last time Dorchester have competed in the Southern Counties league, the team are holding their own and are thoroughly worth their mid-table position.

With two away fixtures before the last home fixture to Swanage & Wareham before the final league fixture away to Swindon, Dorchester can be proud of the season they have had thus far considering all the outside factors.

The clubs A XV travelled to Oakmeadians and were beset by last minute changes, meaning they just managed a full complement of 15 players minutes prior to kick-off.

Despite a somewhat chaotic warm-up, Matt Fry delivered a Churchillian-style pre-match speech to inspire his team.

Fry’s words ringing in their ears, they took the game by the scruff of the neck and went 29-0 up by half-time. Excellent interplay between backs and forwards was typified by man-of-the-match Tristan Walters and another superb kicking performance from Rob Parker which Oaks had no answer for.

In the second half, the opposition came out with a more physical game, playing with more purpose. Resolute defending from Dorchester restricted Oakmeadians to two well-worked but unconverted tries. With the final play of the game, a flowing move started and finished by Xavier Peer, gave the county town’s A XV the last say in the match.

Dorchester’s Gladiators fell to a narrow loss against Weymouth & Portland Seconds on Friday evening at Surcouf Park, in a well-spirited encounter showing all that makes rugby a fun social game, both teams having a combination of speed and experience and each player leaving the pitch with a smile on their face.