DORSET & Wilts’ under-20s finally got their belated Jason Leonard U20s County Championship season started with a tremendous 22-6 triumph over Hampshire’s under-20s at Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

With the Green and Whites handing out championship debuts to no less than 15 players, the hosts will have wanted to make an impact on the championship scene.

Penalties were exchanged in a nervy first 20 minutes through home fly-half Alex Peel and Hampshire’s Jonah North.

On 25 minutes the away side took the lead through another North penalty but Peel continued his excellent kicking by adding two more penalties for a narrow 9-6 home lead.

Although the score was fairly low and tight, both teams were trying to play but nervous errors broke the fluidity of the game.

Bradley Whatley, Conrad Carkeet and Alma Volavola were fantastic in the scrums dominating the Hampshire front row.

Tom Elbrow and Cam Wills were carrying the ball with real physicality, breaking through tackles.

The backs were also busy with centres Jordie Wayman and Reece Makin strong defensively and when attacking always looking threatening and causing the visitors some real problems.

Dorset & Wilts coach Martyn Peel used his bench well bringing on the impact players as Oli Johnson came on for Makin, causing a reshuffling of the back line, with skipper Peel moving into centre with Johnson coming into fly-half.

Last year’s South West representative James Kennedy came on for Ben Goodall.

The second half started more cohesively and the set piece was still going very well for the hosts, with mounting pressure on the visitors.

Soon into the second half, Ethan Goudie scored the first try of the campaign for Dorset & Wilts.

After some quick ball Goudie, with time and space, was able to sprint and dive over in the corner. Peel missed the extras.

After 65 minutes Peel extended the lead to 17-6 with a penalty.

The game now began to open up and Hampshire began to put pressure on the hosts’ defence with extended passages of play.

A great defensive stand saw replacement Kennedy turn over, resulting in a penalty and the hosts were able to clear their lines.

After an overthrow at the line-out from Dorset & Wilts, Hampshire tried a clearing kick.

The loose ball remained in play and bounced up awkwardly, but full-back Matt Strong spotted the loose ball and caught the ball in full stride on the bounce about 30 metres out.

Strong then used his electric pace to sidestep two defenders and race over the line. Peel missed the extras.

In the last few moments, Hampshire took the game to Dorset & Wilts to try and get a consolation score.

However, the determined home defence kept the visitors out to seal victory.


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