DORCHESTER let slip a 14-3 lead as Slough dramatically hit back to win the Southern Counties Senior Vase final 16-14.

As expected there was a cagey start to the game with both sides feeling out the opposition, but after 10 minutes Slough opened the scoring with a penalty when Dorchester, not for the last time, fell foul of the referee’s interpretation at the breakdown.

The next 20 minutes were all Dorchester with Matt Read, James Baker and Callum King carving through the home defence at will. The dominance resulted in two converted tries by George Foot and Callum King for a comfortable lead.

But two more penalties conceded gave the hosts good field position and following concerted pressure on the Dorchester line the Slough centre forced his way over for a converted try to reduce the county town’s side’s lead to 14-10 at half-time.

Dorchester had the benefit of the breeze in the second period and they used it to good effect playing most of the half in Slough territory, but the hosts were able to nullify Dorchester’s dangerous runners.

In a rare visit to the Dorchester 22, Slough earned yet another penalty and converted to close the gap to a single point.

Dorchester continued to have the upper hand but more penalties once again gave Slough a foothold in the Dorchester 22.

Turning down a simple penalty chance they went for the killer try but were pushed back time and again.

Given another chance of an easy penalty, this time they gratefully accepted and took the lead with 10 minutes left.

Dorchester did not panic and, returning to the Slough half, they earned a penalty that might have won them the game but Baker’s kick drifted across the front of the posts and, despite Dorchester’s best attempts, Slough held on for the win.

Commenting after the game, head coach Ben Parker said: “I’m unsure quite what went wrong, we dominated the first half and I thought had all but secured the victory going into the break.

“The players were positive, confident and had a clear vision for the second half. But for whatever reason we threw it away with silly errors, basic penalties and missed tries.

“We allowed Slough to dictate the pace and therefore the game in the second half.”

“Having said that, I am very proud of the squad and the overall effort they gave. I was disappointed to watch them lose a game we could and should have won.

“We have to put all our energy into winning the league and our primary focus of promotion to the Southern Counties. We will learn from the second half against Slough and the game against Dorset Dockers.”


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