A HOST of the county’s brightest stars are set to be on display at Royal Wootton Bassett RFC tomorrow when Dorset & Wilts begin their County Championship campaign against Berkshire.
Since Bassett moved to their new Ballards Ash home from Stoneover Lane last summer, the ultimate goal has been to host county level rugby on their top grade pitches and impressive new facilities.
They will achieve that goal tomorrow, with three home players involved in the matchday squad. Dave Hogg starts in the second row while Gavin Ougan is in the back row, with Phil Bardwell on the replacements bench.
There are also three Swindon players involved, while Swindon College Old Boys’ lone representative is Gareth Davis, meaning there are plenty of local players on show for what is expected to be a big crowd.
Bassett chairman Chris Elias is excited by the prospect of hosting such a big game and believes Bassett provides the perfect venue.
“From the start, when we moved to the new site last year, we always wanted to be able to hold representative games,” he said.
“We’ve achieved that now, which is really good for the club, and to be able to use our quality pitches and great facilities is great.
“We offer good access to visiting teams because we are so close to the M4.
“This is an opportunity to get as much of the local community in as possible because there is plenty to do, it’s not just a rugby event.”
Bassett head coach Alan Low is part of the Dorset & Wilts coaching set-up, as well as being chairman of senior playing, and is excited to see the representative team take to the field at his side’s home.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the club to use our fantastic new facility which has been put in place, in part, to support county level rugby,” he said.
“We held a schools festival for the whole of Wiltshire last week which went really well, and it’s really good to now have these big games to showcase what we’ve got.
“It’s good for Dorset & Wilts to get around the clubs to show a lot of people what we’re all about.”
The day will also include a sausage and cider festival as well as touch rugby games, youth coaching and music, with the aim of raising as much money as possible for the Jospeh Landon Foundation.
Joseph is the son of long-time Dorset & Wilts physio Ian Landon, and suffered major injuries which require round the clock care following an accident.
Low is pleased the twin counties are able to support the charity and urged as many people as possible to attend the game to help maximise the amount they are able to raise.
“It’s great for us to be able to support such a brilliant cause and something so close to us,” he said.
“We are doing everything we can to support Ian and Joseph and any money we are able to raise will be going to help him.
“Hopefully there will be a big crowd at the event which will help us to raise plenty of money.”
Tomorrow’s match kicks-off at 3pm and entry costs £2.