THE Dorset and Wiltshire County Cup final ended in gut-wrenching disappointment for North Dorset as Sherborne won 20-17 with the very last kick of the game.

Appropriately, it was left to two of Sherborne’s most famous sons, Toby O’Loughlin and Rhodri Hopkins, to combine for the killer blow on a cold day when Sherborne again won a trophy they last claimed in 1995.

Other than the first 10 minutes when Sherborne had a quick ball, showing fluid running, they were comfortably 10-0 up. After that for long periods they were surprisingly on the ropes.

As the game developed and North Dorset settled down they became increasingly dominant at the scrum.

Winger Adam Geal also posed an enormous threat every time he touched the ball. His involvement for North Dorset was critical, and he created a brilliant try by fielding a loose kick on the right-hand touchline and carving a weaving line through the Sherborne midfield to put fellow winger Burt into the left-hand corner.

Sherborne went down to 14 men after Craig Jones was shown a yellow card for a late hit on Sam Cuff but Sherborne lifted and did not surrender possession during the sin bin.

With the scores locked at 17-17 Sherborne picked up early Christmas presents with a run of generous penalty opportunities which helped keep North Dorset pinned in their own half.

Rhodri Hopkins was driving the North Dorset pack back into the corner with a series of well-struck kicks and had two opportunities at goal which on his normal strike rate would have been a certainty.

With time running out Toby O’Loughlin was tackled just meters from the halfway line and the tackler was deemed to be slow to roll.

"We had a chat among the senior players on the field and it just seemed natural to go for the posts. There was a bit of wind behind me, but it wasn’t massive, so it was ambitious," said Hopkins.

“I do practice my kicking a fair bit, but not really from long distance. I wouldn’t dare try from that far out in training! "I just had a feeling on the day it might be on.” And so it proved as his penalty effort soared over.

“I just remember connecting with the ball well. When I looked up and it was still flying, I thought oh God! I knew I had given it a good shunt, but I surprised even myself,” added Hopkins.

"The reaction on the field as the ball bisected the posts and the flags were raised was most of the boys were in shock. We knew the game was over at that point and we’d got the win.”

Both teams meet again on Saturday in a Southern Counties league match in Gillingham (2.15pm).