HAVING topped the table in Dorset & Wilts One South and being promoted to the Southern Counties league, Dorchester Rugby Club has been pre-season training for four weeks in preparation for the new season.

While training to the RFU and Public Health guidelines, the club welcomed an announcement from the RFU of an acceleration to return to community rugby and a move from stage B to stage C.

This will involve touch rugby and the newly created format of ‘Ready4Rugby’, meaning the county town club will continue training and can increase numbers safely and in line with RFU guidance.

The club has three teams in senior men’s leagues, a ladies’ team and a very successful youth section. All are heading back towards playing the game they love as soon as regulations allow and are now involved in pre-season training.

Dorchester head coach Martin Oxland has been pleased with the turnout and work rate of the players thus far, with up to seven pods of six players, and is happy that the club is going beyond what is required to train in a safe manner in the current times.

He further adds that the club has a great deal of space for additional players to join in with the training and see what the club has to offer new players.

Sessions for the senior men’s sides are being led under Oxland’s guidance by the likes of Matt Reed and Josh Ovey, and feedback from all involved has been positive.

Now moving into the next phase with a ball in hand in a game that rewards going forward in defence and attack; develops players core skills of catch, pass and support and it will also sharpen up the decision making process for all players.

With three more stages on the RFU’s ‘Return to Rugby Roadmap’ there is no definitive date yet set for a return to community rugby fixtures, however the club is confident it can manage the slow return to the game and welcomes this latest step.

Dorchester’s incoming chairman Tony Foot commented that it was good to see activity returning to the club but was cautious that care still needed to be taken to make sure of a further move up the RFU’s plan.

The club currently trains on a Thursday with arrival for 6.45pm to make sure all participants comply with guidelines and register their details for tracking, with training commencing at 7pm promptly.

New players are welcome and can contact the club via Facebook and its website or by emailing clubhouse@dorchester-rfc.co.uk.