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Dorset & Wilts Division 3 County Champions

4 months ago By Mike Banfield

Dorset & Wilts 24 pts v Essex 22 at Richmond RFC

Congratulations to Marlborough scrum half Jake Williams who was part of the winning Dorset & Wilts team.

Dorset & Wilts RFU website report and pictures

If anyone taken the possession stats of this contest then they would be heavily weighted in the favour of Essex, but the dogged determination of the West Country boys to lift the prodigious trophy in front of a nearly full house at Twickenham for a third time saw them safely home despite giving their management, coaches and travelling fans palpitations throughout the 80 minutes of the game.

Again it was the opposition who started the better and it was against the run of play when in the eighth minute North Dorset fly half Sam Baker opened the scoring with a penalty to put the Twin Counties three points to nil up.

The lead lasted until the 22nd minute and following a forward drive Barking hooker Marcus Bloomberg crashed over the Counties goal line and touch down for a try.

Eighteen minutes later Swindon winger Ollie Wilson 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 took a two point advantage into the second half following a touchdown from Brentwood wing Chay Pollinger converted by Thurrock full back Jake Burrand to make the score Dorset & Wilts 10 points Essex 12.

In the 48th minute Burrand landed a penalty kick to widen the leading margin by three more points before in the 54th minute Baker burst free to ground the ball between the Essex posts and then stroke over the conversion to put the Counties back in front by 17 points to 15.

On the hour the Twin Counties managed to retain possession of the ball and following five minutes of extreme pressure the Essex defence buckled allowing Royal Wootton Bassett loose forward Kyle Lovell to pick up from the base of a scrum and drive over to score and with Baker adding the extras Dorset and Wilts looked to be well in control.

But this is not the Twin Counties style and the referee deemed Trowbridge centre Shai Bonnick offside at a tackle in front of his own posts and produced a yellow card and Dorset and Wilts were down to 14 players for 10 minutes leaving the Counties coaches biting their nails as the clock ticked down.

It was time now for the Counties to defend their line and the one man advantage paid off when Thurrock flanker Charlie Russo crossed the white wash to ground the ball for a try.

Pollinger converted and now as the game went into injury time Dorset & Wilts were defending a 24 points to 22 lead, Bonnick returned and time just ran out for Essex.

After the game the players were transported to Twickenham where Bill Beaumont presented them with the trophy in the half time break during the England Barbarians game.

Updated 12:21 - 29 May 2018 by Mike Banfield

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