RUGBY: Corsham 16 North Dorset 31
CORSHAM failed to lift the Dorset & Wilts 1st XV Vase as they lost out 31-16 to North Dorset in a rousing final at Warminster's Folly Lane ground on Saturday.
With just one place and two points separating the two sides in the final Southern Counties South standings - both teams won their home games - the final was always going to be a close affair, and so it proved.
Wearing their black change strip for the last time this season - in memory of missing player Donavan Van Lill - Corsham started the stronger of the two sides and after threatening in the early stages, they eventually took the lead when loosehead Ed Minty touched down a forward drive, with Dan Goldsworthy slotting the extra two points.
With their scrum in the ascendancy, the Wiltshire outfit had the platform to launch a number of dynamic attacks which led to opportunities on both flanks.
The pressure could only yield a penalty from Goldsworthy and at the other end, in a rare foray into Corsham territory, North Dorset reduced the arrears with a try from a catch and drive.
Corsham finished the half on the front foot, however, and a well-taken Andy Williamson drop goal made it 13-5 at the break.
They turned around with a man less, No 8 Ben Russell in the bin for persistent offence, and North Dorset were also reduced to 14 early in the second period when referee Bill Gould flourished another yellow card for foul play.
Goldsworthy stretched Corsham's lead to 16-5 with a second penalty, but, despite continuing to dominate the third quarter, it was to be their last visit to the scoreboard.
A converted try gave North Dorset renewed confidence and asuccession of injuries, including the loss of constant threat Robbie Robinson from the right flank with an ankle sprain, halted the Wiltshire side's momentum.
North Dorset, aided by fresh legs, took full advantage in the final 20 minutes and, bouncing back off the ropes, they counter-punched with three more scores to take the game out of their opponents' reach.
Meanwhile, Chippenham triumphed in the annual Bath Combination Sevens tournament at Corsham's Lacock Road ground on Sunday.
After 10 teams battled it out in two groups, Chippenham ousted Oldfield and Stothert & Pitt defeated Melksham in the semi-finals before the Bath side fell to their Wiltshire opponents in the showdown.
DORSET & WILTS VASE FINAL PICTURES IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES