DORSET & Wilts lifted the Bill Beaumont senior men’s county championship Division Three title at the weekend with a 24-22 victory over Essex in the final at Richmond RFC.

The Twin Counties then had the honour of lifting the trophy at Twickenham, with former England captain Beaumont presenting them with the silverware at half-time of England’s game against the Barbarians on Sunday.

Essex actually started the better and it was against the run of play when North Dorset fly-half Sam Baker opened the scoring with a penalty in the eighth minute to put the Twin Counties in front.

The lead lasted until the 22nd minute when Barking hooker Marcus Bloomberg crashed over the Counties line following a forward drive to touch down.

Swindon winger Ollie Wilson then showed the Essex defenders a clean pair of heels to run in a try, with Baker slotting the conversion.

On the stroke of half-time, Essex ensured they returned to the changing rooms with a two-point advantage following a touchdown from Brentwood wing Chay Pollinger, with Thurrock full-back Jake Burrand’s conversion making the score 12-10.

Burrand landed a penalty three minutes after the break to widen the margin before, in the 54th minute, Baker burst free to ground the ball between the Essex posts, and his subsequent conversion put the Twin Counties back in front at 17-15.

On the hour, Dorset & Wilts managed to retain possession, and following five minutes of extreme pressure, the Essex defence buckled and Royal Wootton Bassett forward Kyle Lovell picked up from the base of a scrum to dive over. Baker added the extras to put his side well in control.

A yellow card then hampered the Twin Counties’ cause as Trowbridge centre Shai Bonnick was deemed to be offside at a tackle in front of his own posts and sent to the sin-bin as the clock ticked down.

It was time now for the Twin Counties to defend their line, and the man advantage paid off for Essex when Thurrock flanker Charlie Russo crossed the whitewash for a try.

Pollinger converted to cut the deficit to two points but after Bonnick returned to the fray, Dorset & Wilts were able to run the clock down and kick-start the celebrations at the final whistle.