ON A DAY far from ideal for a close fought running rugby game, Dorchester rode the storm to conquer Weymouth & Portland in the first Ridgeway Rumble of the season.
The hosts slowly wore down a dogged Weymouth team to maintain their position as league leaders.
The first 10 minutes of the game saw Dorchester rather ponderous and making some basic errors.
Weymouth’s forward based game was more suited to the conditions than Dorchester’s more expansive game and, playing into the wind and rain the hosts soon found themselves six points down as their mistakes allowed Alex Toms to kick two penalties.
When they were able to keep the ball for more than a couple of phases, Dorchester always looked dangerous.
George Foot was the first to benefit, crossing on the right wing.
Almost immediately after, James Baker scooted down the left wing and touched down under the posts making the conversion a formality.
The visitors continued to make good use of the wind and a third Toms penalty was followed by a try in the right-hand corner as the Weymouth forwards bundled over, with Andy Bowditch claiming the score.
Challenged to retake the lead before half-time, Dorchester launched an attack from their own half which ended in centre Harry Charlier scoring the hosts’ third try.
Baker’s conversion gave Dorchester a five-point lead at the break.
By now, Dorchester were starting to make inroads into the Weymouth defence and take control of the game.
Dorchester made three changes at half-time including bringing on loose head prop Mark Adams who was celebrating his 40th year at the club.
Without the benefit of the wind in the second half, Weymouth struggled to make any impact on the game.
Despite their best efforts, Weymouth were unable to contain the hosts’ dynamic attack and tries from Sam Jones, Callum King, James Baker again and finally Matt Fry, together with two conversions by Baker made the final result a comfortable victory for Dorchester.
But the result was marred by captain Adam Makepeace’s sending off for dissent after the final whistle.
Following the game Dorchester head coach Ben Parker said: “We started very poorly and allowed Weymouth to get some easy points early on.
“I’m not sure if this is just the Dorchester way, but it is something we need to address and quickly.
“Despite this, we showed up properly in the second half and began to gel.
“The conditions were very poor with driving wind and rain, but that didn’t stop us. Earlier in the week we trained in similar conditions and that paid off.
“I felt the lads pulled together and dealt with the conditions. They waited for their opportunities and took them when they were presented.”
Weymouth president Des Quick told Echosport that injuries for his side towards the end of the game helped the hosts inflate the scoreline.
He said: “We played with the wind in the first half and generally our forwards more than held their own. I thought the pack did really well against them and acquitted itself really well.
“But our weakness was our backs in defence.
“Towards the end we had a few injuries and we basically ran out of players. It was their backs that did the damage and they ran through us. It was a much-changed back line, but I thought our half-backs did pretty well.
“Their backs were too good for our defence and they were able to score. Most of the scores came quite late in the game.”
Stand-out performer for the visitors was back rower Ian Dixon.
Copper Street Costa Coffee man of the match
The Copper Street Costa Coffee man of the match was Dave Cottell, who put in a superb solid performance in the front row during the physical encounter.
Dorchester now sit at the top of the table one point ahead of Wimborne Seconds who failed to collect a bonus point in a narrow win over third-placed Bournemouth Thirds.
Dorchester: McCreedy, Evans, Cottell, Makepeace, Jones, C Harries, Newsam, Tucker; Bosher, Foot; Baker, C King, Charlier, Fry; Morgan. Adams, J Harries, Scadden