The big game last weekend saw Sherborne 1st XV taking part in their first Dorset & Wilts cup final for many years as they locked horns with near neighbours North Dorset on Swanage & Wareham's neutral ground. Taking current league form into consideration this one ought to have been less of an effort for Sherborne than some of the recent league fixture wins that had seen them top the table with a 100% record.
However, this was a cup final and against a local rival with their own aspirations, add to that the fact that form often doesn't count for much in such games and an interesting encounter was on the cards.
An interesting game it certainly was. Sherborne were out of the blocks quickly and built a lead as they dominated the first 20 minutes. However, North came back hard and as the teams turned around at the break with the scores level at 17 all the destination of the cup was as uncertain as it had been back at the kick-off. Sherborne had the bigger part of both territory and possession in the second half but for all their efforts they couldn't break North's stubborn defence. Having missed with a couple of shots at goal Sherborne's 10, Rhodri Hopkins, had a nerve jangling opportunity to prevent the game going to extra time with another difficult penalty kick as the final whistle approached. Rhodri's nerves held firm and the kick was landed to give Sherborne the cup by 20-17.
On balance of play Sherborne can certainly say they deserved the win but all credit to North for making such a fight of it and keeping everyone on edge throughout the match. Sherborne will now play the Berkshire cup winners to find the Southern Counties South champions as the competition moves into a National phase based on league structures. The opposition will become tougher at every stage and it will be good for the team to take the opportunity to stretch further, both in geographical and standard of rugby terms, as they bid to progress through the National stages.
No doubt there were some sore heads to add to aching bodies on Sunday morning as the club celebrated picking up silverware for the first time in a few seasons!
The 2nd XV were without a fixture at the weekend and still have a big cup semi-final of their own to come in the new year as well as protecting their position at the top of Dorset & Wilts Two South as they look for promotion back to Dorset & Wilts One South at the first attempt.
The Colts were however in action on Sunday as they hosted Wimborne in a friendly fixture. The two teams played out a close and low scoring game at the start of the season and repeated the scenario on Sunday with Sherborne just edging it again by 7-5.
This was a solid test for the Colts who, having topped their section of the Merit table will now move on to phase two where they will face the winners of the other three groups home and away to find the Dorset & Wilts Colts champions. With Bournemouth, Trowbridge and Bath making up the opposition for these games the season is about to get much tougher!
This weekend the Colts are without a game but the 1st and 2nd XVs return to league action and look to continue their respective fine runs of form. The 1st XV strangely find themselves lining up against North Dorset again and no doubt the opposition will be looking for swift revenge for last week's defeat. Hopefully Sherborne will find that playing North on their patch is not going to be a step too far and can record a quick double. This one kicks off at 14:15 and for those that need the postcode it is SP8 5SY.
The 2nd XV also face a difficult test as they travel to East Dorset for their league match. Hopefully the weekend off will not prove to have any negative effect on the team and they can continue in the form that saw them beat undefeated Puddletown last time out. The opposition sit fourth in the league having won six of their nine fixtures but were soundly beaten by Puddletown two games ago. For those heading down to East Dorset this one also kicks off at 14:15 and the postcode is BH6 5NF.
The remaining key dates have been updated and are listed below for your information.
Key future dates for your diary:
Saturday 30th December U16s/Colts Inter-Club Fixture KO 2pm
Saturday 30th December SRFC 1st XV v President’s XV KO 3.30pm
Saturday 6th January Dorset & Wilts 2nd XV Shield Semi Final v Dorchester RFC (Away) KO 2pm
Sunday 14th January U18 Dorset & Wilts Plate Final v Chippenham RFC (Home) KO 2pm
Saturday 3rd February 1st XV v Yeovil RFC (Away) KO 2.30pm
Saturday 10th February Intermediate Cup Southern Counties Semi-Final 1st XV v Winner of Berkshire Cup (Away)
Friday 9th February Social/Vets XV v North Dorset RFC (Away) KO 7.30pm
Saturday 24th February Intermediate Cup Southern Counties Final
Saturday 24th February Club Away Day Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints (This trip will be cancelled if the 1st XV make the Intermediate Cup Southern Counties Final)
Friday 16th March Social/Vets XV v North Dorset RFC (Home) KO 7.30pm
Saturday 17th March Intermediate Cup South West Division Final
Friday 6th April 1st XV v North Dorset RFC (Home) KO 7.30pm
Saturday 21st April SRFC Annual Dinner & Dance
Updated 09:59 - 7 Dec 2017 by Philippa O'Grady