DORCHESTER survived a thorough examination from arch-rivals Weymouth & Portland to win the Ridgeway Rumble 22-19 at Monmouth Avenue.

The league leaders had fallen 16-7 behind but staged a second-half fightback as the Seahorses began to tire in front of a home crowd well into three figures.

Dorchester stalwart James Baker kicked the winning penalty from 40 metres to preserve the county town’s perfect record and deprive Weymouth of a famous win, the hosts settling for a bonus-point loss.

Both sides went into the game with confidence high and the early exchanges were fairly even.

Dorchester had the first chance to score but Baker missed a routine penalty attempt from dead in front.

Clearly lifted by the let off, the hosts began to apply some pressure on the Dorchester defence who gifted three penalties.

Fly-half Alex Toms, perfect off the tee all day, took full advantage to give Weymouth a nine-point lead.

Eventually, Dorchester managed to string some phases together and right winger Kieran Mayall used all his strength to force his way over in the corner, Baker adding the extras for 9-7.

On the balance of play, Dorchester would have been happy to reach the break just two points behind.

However, Callum King had his clearance kick charged down by Matt Savage and centre Luke Benyon won the foot race to gather and touch down for a 16-7 half-time lead.

Dorchester upped their intensity in the second half and it was not long before captain James Newsam crossed for Dorchester’s second try, Baker failing to convert.

A fourth Toms penalty proved to be the hosts’ only score of the second half as Dorchester began to get the upper hand in the final 10 minutes.

With Weymouth visibly tiring under almost constant pressure it was King who found a gap in the home defence to score between the posts making the equalising conversion a formality for 19-19.

Not prepared to settle for the draw, Dorchester drove forward again forcing yet another penalty which Baker, from fully 40 metres, bisected the uprights.

There was still time for a few nerves as Weymouth sought a winning score but Dorchester held on to maintain their unbeaten record.

Speaking after the game, Dorchester president Bob Andrews, said: “In a game that could have gone either way a lot of credit for the narrow victory must go to Dorchester’s head coach Martin Oxland.

“When we lesser mortals were becoming anxious on the touch line Martin’s calm, measured approach was instrumental in our eventual victory.

“Martin’s tactical changes to the personnel during the game, assisted by the players’ belief in each other which he has engendered into the squad this season, was the turning point.

“The players remained focused and determined when they could have become anxious and fearful and ultimately this belief was the deciding factor in the result.

“Martin and the team can feel justifiably proud of what they have achieved so far this season and the challenge now is to build on that belief and to set themselves new and higher objectives.”

Seahorses’ coach and former Dorchester man Rich Bament, told Echosport: “We’re gutted, we led for the majority of the game until the last five minutes.

“We certainly rattled them for about 50, 55 minutes and then their experience, with a few old heads – a few silly mistakes by us – let them in.

“When you’re constantly defending for 30 minutes it takes its toll in the end.

“The guys did very well, they couldn’t have done any more. They were playing top of the league with the chance to go out and show them what they can do.

“They played out of their skin – the best game I’ve been involved with.

“I thought they’d have to go a bit to top Oakmeadians in the first game, but they did very well.”

Dorchester still sit four points clear at the top of the Wadworth 6X Dorset & Wilts One South table, with Dorset Dockers second whilst Weymouth & Portland drop to fourth.

Meanwhile, Friday night’s win by the Seahorses’ second XV over Dorchester’s Gladiators gave Weymouth & Portland some comfort, with a strong running side not letting the Gladiators get on the scorecard.

Dorchester Seconds recorded a strong win over Wimborne Thirds with Matt Fry’s team running in nine tries to Wimborne’s two during a 57-14 victory.

With some strong performances all across the park for the home team, there was no sign of easing off and Fry’s side kept pushing for more scores. Dorchester now sit fourth in the league table with momentum building.

Lastly, the Ridgeway Roses came away from Yeovil with a 46-0 loss after a valiant effort on the pitch.


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