By Tim Beavis & Neil Walton

WITH the league win and promotion Dorchester’s priority, tomorrow (2.15pm) sees this season’s second Ridgeway Rumble against old rivals Weymouth & Portland.

Unbeaten in 16 matches in the Wadworth Dorset & Wilts One South league, the county town outfit sit 11 points clear of the second-placed Seahorses, who lie only two points above Dorset Dockers.

Both teams come into the match after tough games last weekend with the weather playing its part again. Dorchester managed a close fought 13-3 win at Blandford while Weymouth fell 26-0 to a strong Bournemouth Thirds.

Tomorrow’s game however is not just a league game it is also about local pride and bragging rights.

A resilient Dorchester side came from behind to narrowly beat Weymouth 22-19 at Monmouth Avenue in November and both coaches will be fully aware of the threats either side can pose.

Dorchester’s head coach, Martin Oxland, commented: “The message for the players this week is to raise our game and maintain focus on our objectives against a Weymouth side that will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat.

“Knowing Rich Bament, he will have his side well prepared for the top-of-the-table fixture so we are going to need to be at our best to achieve a positive outcome.”

Oxland will expect nothing less than a full 80-minute performance with total commitment and concentration from before the whistle even blows as he knows nothing would please the Weymouth players, coaching team and supporters more, than to take Dorchester’s unbeaten league run from them.

Dorchester have a number of players out through injury, including Lee King who has made some great carries this season in the second row, but coming back into the squad are Chris Elliott, George Foot, Dave Clark and Kieran Mayall.

Weymouth’s head coach Bament will know all too well how Dorchester can perform at Surcouf Park given he scored over 900 points when he played for the Green & Whites.

On his team’s chances, he said: “They all know what lies ahead, they’re all looking forward to it and not dwelling on what happened on Saturday.

“Dorchester are hard at home, but I’m sure we can give them a run for their money like we did earlier in the season.

“I would love to put one over on them and inflict their first defeat.

“It will be tough because we’ve got a few players at the England v Wales game and we’ve lost Matt Savage for the season, which is a big blow.

“He had appendicitis after the Puddletown, so he’s been told by the surgeon ‘no more rugby this year’.

“We’ve got a full set of forwards, so there’ll just be some minor changes.”

Alex Toms and James Cooper miss out for the Seahorses.

Dorchester are showing the England v Wales game in the clubhouse on the big screen at 4.45pm.

With Dorchester’s main sponsor, Highwood, at the game and the second Vice Presidents lunch of the season it is set to be a good day at the club.

Dorchester’s A XV travel to Wimborne who sit one place below them in the Wadworth Dorset & Wilts Two South table, last time out Dorchester came out on top 57-14 and captain Matt Fry will make sure his team are switched on from the first kick to get a win on the road.

The Gladiators side play tonight at 7.30pm under lights at Surcouf Park against a combined Puddletown & Blandford XV.

Sunday is a busy day for the youth section at the county town club with the under-12, under-13 and under-16s all welcoming Swanage & Wareham, Salisbury and Taunton respectively, whilst the under-15s lock horns with Wimborne in a Dorset & Wilts Bowl semi-final.

Dorchester’s Colts, including the now first-team player Freddie Marsden, play Wimborne Colts in the Dorset & Wilts County Cup semi-final (2pm) looking to add to their newly-won league title.