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DORCHESTER 18 BRIDPORT 6

DORCHESTER began life in Dorset & Wilts One South with an encouraging victory over local rivals Bridport at Coburg Road.

The home side, relegated from Southern Counties South last season, were not at their best but always looked likely winners once the opening exchanges were over.

Playing in near perfect conditions both sides started in a conservative manner and most of the play was between the 22s.

The visitors had the first chances to open the scoring but two kickable penalties went begging.

The forward exchanges were pretty even yet Dorchester appeared sharper out wide and it was the pace of the home backs that led to the first score.

Slick hands from John Firkin and Rich Bament put Gareth Biddle away down the right wing.

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Biddle drew the full-back and returned the ball to Bament who scooted in the corner.

Firkin was unable to convert the try but kicked a straightforward penalty to give Dorchester an eight-point lead at the break.

The visitors knew that they had to get the next score if they were to make an impact on the match and they duly upped their pace and commitment.

As a result of the pressure, the county town lost their composure for 20 minutes and two successful penalties for Bridport closed the gap to a mere two points.

Finally the hosts managed to shake off their lethargy and began to play the game in their opponents' half.

Firkin kicked a second penalty before replacement Jack Elliott sliced open the midfield defence and powered his way under the posts.

Firkin added the extras and the game was effectively won.

Bridport came back with one last effort for a consolation score but the home defence held firm to keep their try-line intact.

The two points were a much needed boost but Dorchester know that they will need to improve if they are to make a serious impact this season.

Bridport boss Paul Ninnim insists that his side can recover and contest the league at the top end.

He said: "The last pass didn't quite go for us but it could quite easily have been a different story.

"The performance was 100 times better than the previous week and we are improving all the time.

"I don't think anyone would argue that we deserved something out of the match but that's sport.

"I'm convinced that on our day we can beat anyone in the league and if we play like that this season then we'll win 90 per cent of our league games this year and I think we are one of the favourites for promotion."

Dorchester Man of the Match: James Rossiter - very calm and composed in his first competitive game at this level.

Dorchester: Cottell, Chalker, Boyt (Borries 70), Hodges, Broadbent (King 70), T Gower, Newsam, O'Connell, D Gower, Rossiter, Caines, J Gower (Elliott 45), Firkin, Biddle, Bament.

8:26am today

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