DORCHESTER Seconds were knocked out of the Dorset & Wilts Second XV Shield at the semi-final stage as Sherborne Seconds emerged with a 23-10 win.

With Sherborne going into the game unbeaten this was always going to be a tough ask for Dorchester.

The match was preceded by a minute’s silence for former A XV captain, player and well loved retired headteacher, Adrian Downton, who passed away on Christmas Eve.

Dorchester kicked off but looked a little ponderous and within three minutes were 5-0 down. Sherborne looked quick and ready to move the ball around and after a short series of penalties scored another try.

Dorchester then conceded turnover ball again and the Sherborne full-back danced his way through a number of missed tackles to add to the score, this time the try was converted.

Dorchester found themselves 17-0 down after 15 minutes.

Both sides made changes to their front rows and Dorchester started to wake up a little and work their way back into the game finally gaining some possession.

A penalty against Sherborne for a high tackle saw Tom Gower go on a darting run, passing back inside to captain Rob Parker to score. With the successful conversion, Dorchester went into half-time 10 points down and looking back in the game

Dorchester made three changes at the interval with Liam Kershaw, Zak Paton and Jake Bosher all coming on. This seemed to up the pace of the game and the county town side were gaining more possession and moving the ball quicker.

With the game tighter, the opposition seemed to become a little rattled and following a hotly-contested ruck, two Sherborne players saw red as did Dorchester’s Tony O’Connell.

With both sides changing formation to deal with the dismissed players, Dorchester won a penalty and kicked for goal. The home side now trailed by just 10 points and began to come back at Sherborne.

For 10 minutes, Dorchester kept pushing Sherborne back and working hard to break the line. Sherborne’s defence held tight even with Dorchester on their five-metre line.

One final attack from Sherborne saw them win a penalty and the resulting three points put the game out of Dorchester’s reach.

Dorchester’s Copper Street Costa Coffee man of the match was Tom Bradbury, yet another who has come through the ranks of the youth section at the club.

After the match, captain Rob Parker praised his team for running Sherborne close and commended a great team performance. Vice-captain Laurence Burch already has his eyes on a league victory in two weeks against the same team.

Coach Ben Parker reflected post match. He said: “While the result was disappointing, looking at the bigger picture this performance was the best so far, and shows how far we have come since our last encounter with Sherborne.”

“The lads showed spirit, and I believe that if they had not scored against us so early the result would have been different. We can now focus fully on the league.”