DORSET & Wilts coach Neil Loader believes his young players have shown enough to suggest they can form the basis of the county side for years to come.

The twin counties lost 37-18 to Berkshire at Wootton Bassett on Saturday in their first County Championship game of the season, but showed plenty of promise as the young squad came together for the first time.

Former Swindon head coach Loader, who is part of the Dorset & Wilts coaching set-up, admitted the loss puts the county side’s chance of progressing out of the group stage in doubt, but he believes the players showed enough to suggest they can form the basis of the side for years to come.

“We can still do it although things are now massively difficult for us,” he said.

“A lot depends on the result of the Buckinghamshire and Berkshire game because, of Berks win, we are out.

“With this group of players we can all be very excited because it’s very new. We need to keep developing as a side because it’s a young team with new faces.

“You can’t say for sure what’s going to happen in the future but these boys all put a marker in the ground to show they can be around for a few years.”

Despite the loss, Loader insisted he and the rest of the coaching staff were happy with the display.

“The performance was really good and we have to be pleased with that,” he said.

“The competition laws state we can use players playing up to level five and the majorities of ours came from level six with some at level seven. They had the majority of their team coming from level five.

“We defended well, although we obviously conceded a few points, but they were just bigger and more powerful for us.

“When we were able to play we did well and scored some tries and the players need to be really proud of themselves.”