DORCHESTER have played down the importance of their early meeting with Poole at Dorchester Rec tomorrow (1pm).

Last season, Dorchester pinched the Dorset Premier League title from Poole after Bere Regis beat the east Dorset side on the final day.

It gave Dorchester a hat-trick of titles, with Poole among their main rivals in each of their trophy-winning years.

One of the quirks of the fixture list in recent seasons has been an early meeting between the sides, but Belt believes his side have the edge with home advantage.

READ MORE: Dorchester dazzle Broadstone for perfect start

He told Echosport: “The earlier you play Poole, the better – especially at home. You don’t want to be going to Poole Park at this time of year.

“Certainly, playing at home helps but Poole’s a tough game. We’ve had good battles over the last few years especially, so we’re all looking forward to it.

“Everyone’s still got to play each other but it would be a great boost for the lads if we can get a win, especially with two massive games in the next few weeks – Puddletown and Martinstown.

“It’s a big three weeks for us, getting a grip of the bigger teams and setting ourselves at the top somewhere.”

Dorset Echo: Dorchester captain Dan Belt Picture: GRAHAM HUNTDorchester captain Dan Belt Picture: GRAHAM HUNT

Dorchester are unchanged from their eight-wicket win over Broadstone last time out.

Dorchester: Ryall, Mitchem, Rajendar, Peak, Belt, J Foot, Barrett, Owens, Dunham, Baker, Legg.

Dorchester Seconds visit Beaminster in County Division Two, while Dorchester Thirds make the short trip to rivals Weymouth Seconds in Division Six (both 1.30pm tomorrow).

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Martinstown and Bere Regis face off at Lower Ashton Farm tomorrow (1pm).

There is no love lost between the sides after a heated incident in this fixture last season, which saw four bans handed out by the league disciplinary committee.

Town skipper Sam Kershaw is purely focused on the game, however.

“We’re looking forward to it, they’re a team that want to be competing at the top,” he said.

“They’ve got the ability to do that with the squad they’ve got. It was one-all last year. We beat them away and they beat us at home.

“Home form is a big thing if you want to be challenging at the top, Dorchester and Poole are really good at it.”

Martinstown beat Puddletown by seven wickets last time out and Kershaw added: “It’s always nice to get a good start.

“We know some teams are weaker at the start with university and people playing different sports.

“But it was by no means a flying victory, we have a lot to work on.”

Opposing skipper Brian Keegan insists Bere will ignore the needle from previous games.

He said: “We’re looking forward to renewing rivalries with them. They finished third last year, a place above us, so that demands respect.

“The more important thing for us is to move on from last week. We didn’t hit standards that we’ve hit consistently last season.

“We’ll look to go again, stick to our own gameplan and then not worry too much about the opposition.”

Martinstown make one change, with Tom Pope replacing Jenson Stewart, while Bere replace Dom Pegg and Dean Rogerson with Rich Cole and Matt King.

Martinstown: E Nichols, S Williams, W Maltby, Wint, Andrews, T Pope, Hill, Kershaw, Jo Stewart, Trotter, Durant.

Bere Regis: M King, Russell, Payne, Rich Cole, S Goodhew, T Goodhew, Robertson, Murphy, Kennard, Walbridge, Keegan.

Bere main sponsor: Booth Gadenne

Bere first and second XI match ball sponsor: Dorset Property Surveys

Tomorrow (1.30pm), Martinstown Seconds and Bere Regis Seconds visit Hamworthy Seconds and host Abbotsbury respectively in Division Three after Martinstown won their battle by six wickets on the opening day.

Staying in the Premier League, Puddletown’s brutal start continues with a trip to Wimborne & Colehill tomorrow (1pm).

Adam Barrett’s men are looking to recover from last week’s loss to Martinstown but the Puddle captain anticipates another difficult weekend.

“I don’t think the fixture gods were kind to us,” he said.

“We may as well get them out of the way early, do the best we can and pick up as many points as possible.

“It’s a case of taking it week by week. We left wickets in hand against Martinstown, so that’s something we’ll look to do again.

“But there needs to be a balance between keeping wickets and scoring at a rate.”

Puddletown make two changes, with Callum Chaldecott and Chris Clarke replacing the unavailable Mike Crabb and Mike Hoffmann.

Dorset Echo: Callum Chaldecott returns for Puddletown Picture: PUDDLETOWN CCCallum Chaldecott returns for Puddletown Picture: PUDDLETOWN CC

Puddletown: Snow, Re Norman, Mitchell, C Chaldecott, Clarke, Eastment, Ry Norman, S Chaldecott, Fairman, J Morris.

Puddletown Seconds and Thirds are home and away to Wimborne Fourths and Poole Fifths in Division Six and Seven respectively (both tomorrow 1.30pm).

In County Division One, Portland Red Triangle are looking to build on last week’s one-wicket win over Swanage tomorrow (1.30pm).

They host promoted side Wimborne Seconds at Reforne but skipper Matt Randell urged his players to concentrate on their own game.

“The message for the whole season is just to focus on ourselves, I don’t really care what the opposition are like,” he admitted.

“If we play the best cricket we can and we enjoy ourselves, we’ll give ourselves a good shout of beating anyone.”

Portland are without centurion from last week, Simon Proffitt, plus Gareth and Ryan Price. Joe Adkins comes in and Randell will make a late call on the two remaining slots.

Portland: Laws, Randell, Theakstone, M Barrett, D Adkins, J Adkins, Cameron, J Marsh, R Marsh, AN Other, AN Other.

Weymouth, like Dorchester, are facing an early clash against title rivals – this time at Chalke Valley in Division Two tomorrow (1.30pm).

Chalke have flown up the leagues and are hotly tipped to challenge for silverware again after winning Division Three last season.

Both sides won last week and the fixture signals a reunion with Weymouth for Chalke skipper Joe Weld.

The all-rounder played for the Seasiders as a teenager in 2010 and was among the highest run-scorers in Dorset last year with 642, including two centuries.

And Weymouth captain Harry Mitchell is looking forward to challenging the Dorset T20 champions.

He said: “It’s going to be a huge game. Firstly, it’s an unknown test.

“I’ve not played at the ground before, I don’t think many of our players have.

“They’ve come up the leagues and not lost many games. They obviously won the T20 Cup, they’re clearly a good side and have talented players, especially batting.

“If we exploit their bowling, that’s going to be our way in to the game.

“It will be a good test for us. Early season, anything can happen. It’s a toss of a coin. We’re excited by the proposition.”

Weymouth are close to full strength as all-rounders Jonny Armfield, Lloyd Beals and Neil Walton return along with wicketkeeper Dave Blackman plus batters Dom Webb and Tim Guyett.

Adam Hoyes (elbow), Tom England (work), Neil Patel and Graham Puckett play for the seconds, but Laurence Tonkin and Alex Lark miss out.

Weymouth: Webb, Womble, Walton, Armfield, Mitchell, J Sapsworth, Beals, Guyett, Blackman, Urumancheri, Jose.