DORSET & Wilts coach Alan Low said the Twin Counties 29-26 defeat to Oxfordshire at Witney was a “bitter pill to swallow” but he was full of praise for his relatively inexperienced squad.

The visitors conceded 14 unanswered points late in the game to slip to defeat and Low outlined how unlucky he felt Dorset & Wilts had been, saying: “It was a bit of a nightmare. They scored a try just before half-time after we stole their lineout but tapped it down and they came through and scored on the tap-down.

“We had a winger going over to score and had the ball knocked out of his hands as well, so it was a bitter pill to swallow. It was a massive, massive improvement on the week before. We gave out about 15 new ties the week before so the guys had a little look at county rugby, saw what it was all about and every single one of them stepped up.”

Four of Low’s Royal Wootton Bassett charges - Duncan Fulling, David Hogg, Phil Bardwell and Gavin Ougan - all played a part for the counties in the fixture, with Fulling and Hogg particularly impressing their club coach.

“The Bassett boys did superbly,” he said. “Duncan Fulling was on the bench, came on early and got the backline moving really well. David Hogg was almost man of the match. He’s had two fantastic games having stepped up to the level, he’s been superb.”

Oxfordshire topped the pool with the win and now go on to face Surrey in the semi-finals at Grove on Saturday, with a Twickenham final on Sunday, June 1 at stake.