DORSET & Wilts kicked off their County Championship campaign with a high-scoring 57-45 victory over Berkshire at North Dorset.

The green and whites were playing the only side to beat them last year and dug deep to avenge their defeat.

Berkshire made best use of windy conditions, racing into a 14-0 lead in the first 10 minutes, courtesy of scrum-half Ollie Cole who twice caught the home defence napping with two tap penalties to cross the whitewash as Dan Thorne converted both tries.

The Twin Counties took time to respond and opened their account with a well worked try from Warminster wing Laisiasa Vinakadina.

Berkshire then won possession from a line-out on the home 22 and rolled a maul over with number eight Leo Goodson claiming the score and Thorne adding two points.

With the home defenders chasing shadows, Berkshire full-back Jack Gaylor raced in for a try closely followed by Vinakadina for his second touchdown and Taunton’s Sam Baker converted to make the score 26-19 in favour of the visitors at the interval.

After the break, Dorset and Wilts now had the elements behind them as Warminster wing Ross Williams raced in to score twice, both converted by Baker.

Centre Jake Unwin of Chippenham showed the visitors a clean pair of heels for a converted try, then after the restart Alex Bancroft put Berkshire back in contention with a try converted by Thorne, who then grabbed a try for himself that he duly converted for 40-33.

North Dorset replacement wing Mindas Kaslaukas then grabbed a touchdown in front of his home supporters with Baker adding the extras.

Baker kicked a 45-metre penalty before Salisbury’s Callum Grant also touched down for a try with Baker again converting to complete the Dorset and Wilts scoring.

Matt Allan grabbed a consolation try for Berkshire well into injury-time.