DORCHESTER Rugby Club stalwart Tony Foot has succeeded Nick Hodge as chairman.

Foot was sworn in at the club's AGM and first joined the committee in 1977, one year after his first team debut.

Indeed his first team record is impressive with 517 first team appearances and his club record of 134 tries for the team has only just been surpassed this season.

'Footy' has played through all three senior sides for the club, has been ever present in the fabled Gladiators tours and has seen the club grow from its early days and move to its current ground Surcouf Park, from the old Weymouth Avenue site.

It is true to say though that the rugby club is a family affair with the Foot household, with both sons Josh and George having played for the club, with George currently in the first team setup.

His wife Sherry is also a familiar face at the club, having served on the club committee and volunteered over many years and is the daughter of another club stalwart Lloyd Surcouf after whom the clubhouse was named last year.

On taking over the role from Hodge, Foot thanked him for all his hard work, both as club chairman, a former Gladiators captain and also player for the second team plus his energy in trying to drive the club forward to greater things.

Foot commented that his plans for the future were to continue to improve the team and attract good players to the club, especially noting it was important to retain the current crop of young talent coming through the successful junior section and make Dorchester the “go to” place for high level rugby in the area.

He wants it to continue to grow as a family club and make the bonds between the senior, junior and ladies sections stronger and more cohesive.

With the current situation constantly changing and no clear dates for the return to competitive league fixtures, it was good to see the senior section back to pre-season training on Thursdays, albeit in a rather different format.

Foot's plan for the playing season, however that turns out for the first team, is to consolidate on promotion and have a long run back in the Southern Counties league.