FOLLOWING a weekend off, Dorchester’s 1st XV will be keen to get straight back to winning ways against second-placed Blandford in today’s top of the table Wadworth Dorset & Wilts 1 South league clash.

With the squad carrying several injuries, the rest may well have been perfectly timed for coach Martin Oxland’s players.

Unbeaten in the league in six games, the county town side will be keen to extend their points lead over Blandford, who they recently overcame in the Dorset & Wilts Vase Tournament.

Injuries aside, Oxland still has a core of players to call on who are regular faces in the 1st XV, and consistency could be key to the season.

With regular prop Chris Elliot injured, the experienced Tom Bamlett starts in the front row.

Elliott is noted by Oxland as having one of his best games against Blandford in the Vase fixture, other regular front rowers Tom Evans and Dave Cottell are also unavailable, but with the likes of Joe Underhill and Josh Ovey able to step in this is not a worry for Oxland.

Both captain James Newsam and vice-captain Callum King have been ever present thus far in the campaign and the coach is confident they are providing the leadership required to bring in the results.

On this weekend’s match, Oxland commented: “The league table suggests this will be the toughest challenge of the campaign so far, however, the players have a good mindset currently and look at every fixture being a challenge.

“They know they have to be physically and mentally engaged from the warm up to the final whistle to achieve the outcome.

“We fully expect Blandford to come to Cogburg Road with the mindset of knocking us off the top of the table after our win against them in the Vase, so we are expecting the match to be a physical one where the breakdowns will be hotly contested. We will need to be at our best in attack and defence to overcome any threats they will pose.”

The club are also hosting the first of this seasons Vice Presidents & Ex Players lunches, so a large crowd is expected for the 2:30 pm kick off.

The County Town clubs A XV travel to Ellingham & Ringwood for a 2pm kick off. Dorchester lie one place above the home side in sixth place in the Wadworth Dorset & Wilts 2 South league.

Captain Matt Fry and his team will need to be at their best to return home with a win, but with spirits high after a big win last time out against East Dorset they will be keen to keep the momentum up. On Sunday morning the club will be participating in the local remembrance service and a wreath will be laid.


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