WITH no game this weekend, and only three more for the season on the Tribute Southern Counties league, newly appointed Dorchester Rugby Club first-team captain Steve Tucker and club captain Tony O’Connell had time to reflect on the season along with club president Bob Andrews.

Tucker, who took over part way through the season, looked back on the season but also his start in the game: "Dorchester Rugby Club has had a special feel about it this season. We've a great group of people, both on and off the field, that have contributed to the club offering rugby provision to all that want to be part of the game.

"I first started playing rugby at Dorchester at the age of nine.

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"The club is lucky to have an amazing junior section, with many players going on to play senior rugby for Dorchester as well as those who have followed the dream and gone further to premiership and even international level.

"Like many others, my parents spent many a Sunday morning driving me around Dorset to play rugby and, no doubt, cover the seats of their car in mud. A big part of any grass roots club is the volunteering and supporting of parents, families, and the local community. Dorchester remains blessed in this regard.

"This season has been particularly special for me. Having spent two seasons playing at Ivybridge in the South West Premier, I have loved being back at my local team.

"When the opportunity to take on the first XV captaincy arose, it was a challenge I couldn't turn down. Working with Josh and the boys this season, it feels like we have something special growing.

"Lots of talented young players have taken their first steps into the first XV and the results on the pitch have spoken for themselves. We want to play an attractive style of rugby across all three senior teams and continue to welcome new players and supporters to join us at Surcouf Park."

Club Captain Tony O’Connell also took time to point out the hard work done by many volunteers behind the scenes to keep the club at the centre of the community as well as being successful on the pitch: “What was always going to be a difficult year has been made so much easier thanks to the ongoing support and effort of everyone involved in the club.

"Players, committee members, coaches, parents, supportive and long-suffering family members, and frequently they are all the same person.

"There are five current players sitting on the club committee, two of whom also sit on the junior committee, at least six current players who coach in the junior section and that doesn’t include those that work tirelessly behind the scenes to raise money and develop sponsorship opportunities for the club.

"Whether you are U6 or over 60, play for the Gladiators or the Roses, whether you attend games to support willingly or under protest, on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning, we are many teams but one club, and as club captain, I take that to heart.

"This year, more than any other we’ve seen a greater number of our colts transition to senior rugby and credit must go to all our coaches from Josh Ovey with the seniors, to the newest junior coach Cian Evans, for creating positive training and playing environment for everyone regardless of size or ability.”

Club president Bob Andrews, who also captained the club to much success and then took on the role of chair, recognised that as a community club, Dorchester also has many local businesses and individuals to thank for their unstinting support of the club through recent tough times financially and importantly by supplying goods and services for no charge.

“The overwhelming support that we have received from local sponsors, old and new, has seen us through the most difficult period in the club’s history is vital to us as a community club," he said. "Now 150 years old and still going strong.

"Their support, along with with our wonderful volunteers, whose tireless work has kept the club running, from our fantastic mini and junior section, through to the colts, girls, ladies and three senior men’s teams. Our hard-working committee and supporters should feel proud of their contribution to this wonderful community sports club which is really at the heart of the town.

"I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them, and I look forward to celebrating our 150th Anniversary Ball on Saturday, May 28 at the club with them, safe in the knowledge that the club will continue to prosper thanks to their commitment.”

Dorchester currently sit fifth in the Southern Counties South table with three games remaining, the club’s A XV sit fourth in Dorset & Wilts South Two with one final game this Saturday, while the Gladiators sit third in Group One of the Dorset & Wilts Matrix with two games to play.

The Ridgeway Roses occupy eighth in the Women’s NC Two South West (South) table, picking up a memorable home win against Westbury with two games of their campaign left to play.