Dorset & Wilts RFU Press Officer.
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RFU County Championship.
Dorset & Wilts. 18pts v Berkshire 37, At Royal Wootton Bassett RFC.
Not the result that the Twin Counties would have desired, but there were some positives to emerge from this encounter.
Firstly a young Counties side with only five of last season’s squad available were still in contention at the break with just three points separating the two sides, but as the second half progressed it became obvious that the more experienced outfit would take the spoils as the Twin Counties youngsters tired.
Berkshire raced into an eight points to nil lead through Reading full back Chris Laidler with a penalty goal and Readingensians prop James Baker who crashed over for a try.
The Counties replied through Devizes fly half Rory Brown slotting a penalty then lock forward Lewis Paget also from Devizes crossed the whitewash to touch down for a try for Dorset and Wilts.
The visitors added another five points with a touchdown from Readingensians flanker Arron Hopkins and Laidler adding the extras.
Salisbury centre James Kaminski burst clear, chipped ahead, gathered in the loose ball despite being held back and crashed over for a try to make the score at the break 13 points to 15 in favour of the visitors.
Berkshire captain and number 8 Nico Maybury from Bracknell grabbed a try with Laidler kicking the conversion and now the visitors were two scores clear, however driving over from a maul close to the Berkshire line Royal Wootton Bassett second row David Hogg raised the roof playing in front of his own crowd as he crashed over to ground the ball.
With the score now Dorset and Wilts 18 points to Berkshire’s 23 a converted try would have put the Counties in front, but as they chased the game two further touchdown’s for Berkshire, a second from prop Baker and another from wing forward Hopkins with Laidler converting one and Reading University substitute Ollie Mann adding the extra two points with the final score of the game.
Dorset and Wilts coach Don Parsons said, “We had a young side out, most of their players came from clubs that compete league level five where our lads play mostly at levels six and seven so we were always going to be tough against a more experienced side. But we gave away too many penalties and field position and they put our scrum under heavy pressure.
Now we must look forwards to our game at Whitney rugby club in two weeks against Oxfordshire”.