WITH the Christmas break now over, rugby action returns to Coburg Road this weekend.

Dorchester’s A XV take centre stage this weekend in an effort to make the final of the Dorset & Wilts 2nd XV Shield, two years in succession.

Kicking off at 2pm the A XV welcomes Sherborne Seconds in what could prove to be a very hotly-contested match. Sherborne currently lie top of the Wadworth 6X Dorset & Wilts Two South league, with Dorchester in fifth position.

The opposition stand unbeaten in the league and have had some sizeable wins.

Following last year’s near miss in the final against Trowbridge, they look to go one better this season, and put out a strong squad to face their near neighbours.

The winners of this semi-final will go on to face the winners of Corsham v Marlborough.

Rob Parker’s side have a solid front row platform of Dave Rawles, Luke Doherty and Chris Elliott to enable the loose forwards to make some big runs.

Recently capped and in great form, Thomas Harries will look to increase his try tally alongside Leo Ansell playing at seven and eight respectively.

The experienced Tom Gower will look to release his backs from scrum half, with recent recruit Luc Scadden in fine form aiming to break the Sherborne line.

A XV team manager, Joe Newton, commented it had been a hard selection meeting: “With around 40 training on Tuesday some tough calls had to be made. The strength and depth in the squad is excellent and puts us in a strong position.”

Head coach Ben Parker added: “We have a clear plan on how to move forward and develop the squad even more.

“With our recent good form and ambitions still high, we aim to achieve our goals this season.

“All our senior teams are on track to achieve their targets which is fantastic.

“There is still plenty to work on to continue our development, but at the halfway point in the season the players the coaching team and myself as head coach are all happy. We have a tight squad in place.”

In other games this weekend at Coburg Road, the under-13s lock horns with Frome.

Also on the billing, the under-15s look to overcome Sherborne in the Dorset & Wilts Cup.

n Dorchester’s first XV return to action on Saturday, January 13 (2.15pm) with a home clash against North Dorset II. Next week, Weymouth & Portland travel to Wimborne II, while Bridport host Swanage & Wareham II.