A YOUNG Dorset & Wilts side slipped to a 37-18 loss to Berkshire at Wootton Bassett on Saturday but were still able to show plenty of positives.
The side contained only five of last season’s squad but were still in contention at the break with just three points separating the two sides before, 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 8-0 lead through Reading full-back Chris Laidler’s penalty and Readingensians prop James Baker, who crashed over for a try.
Dorset & Wilts replied through Devizes fly-half Rory Brow, who slotting a penalty, before lock forward Lewis Paget, also from Devizes, crossed the whitewash to touch down for a try.
The visitors added another five points with a touchdown from Readingensians flanker Arron Hopkins and Laidler added 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 15-13 in favour of the visitors at the break.
Berkshire captain and number eight Nico Maybury, from Bracknell, grabbed a try, with Laidler kicking the conversion to move his side two scores clear. However, driving over from a maul close to the Berkshire line, Bassett second row David Hogg raised the roof in front of his own crowd as he crashed over to ground the ball.
With Dorset & Wilts trailing 23-18, a converted try would have put the counties in front, but as they chased the game two further touchdowns from Berkshire ended the game as a contest.
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.”
Bassett head coach Alan Low, who is also part of the Dorset & Wilts coaching team, insisted the day had been a great one for his club and was only lacking a positive result.
“It was great,” he said. “A lot of people have put a lot of work into the day and in honesty I don’t think it could really have gone any better.
“The only thing missing was a good result for the team but the performance was good and it there were plenty of positives.
“We at Bassett had a few players involved in the side which was great for us all and there is plenty to be positive about going forward.”