Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
RUGBY: Dorset & Wilts 67 Berkshire 22
10:28am Monday 14th May 2012 in Rugby
DORSET & Wilts are one match from returning to Twickenham for a third successive year after trouncing Berkshire to progress to the semi finals of the RFU County Championship Shield on Saturday.
The Twin Counties, back-to-back winners at English rugby's home in the past two years, put aside their opening Pool Three defeat to Oxfordshire a fortnight ago to roar into the last four on points difference.
Berkshire had beaten Oxfordshire the previous week, meaning a bonus point win plus a 21-point difference would take Dorset & Wilts through at Bournemouth.
But the visitors made the better start as the pack drove the Twin Counties back and lock Sam Hallett plunged over, fly-half William Clark booting the conversion.
The home side hit back as captain Liam Gilbert scored out wide, fly-half Dan Pollard's conversion hitting the crossbar.
Flanker Tony Dunkerley was denied soon after as referee Douglas Neagle pulled play back for a forward pass.
But scrum-half Sam Hardcastle's break set up Corsham's Rhys Jones for the second try.
Gilbert added his second to finish off a fine passing move and Pollard added the extras before another Hardcastle break set up Chippenham skipper Bobby Lyons for the bonus-point score, Pollard converting.
Centre Oliver Pickford added another, Pollard with the extras, to move the Twin Counties the required points margin ahead, but Berkshire reduced arrears as scrum-half Andrew Webb scampered home to make it 31-12 at half time, with Oxfordshire still topping the pool on points difference.
Berkshire's hopes took a hit at the end of the half as lock Owen Root was sent to the sin-bin and Dorset & Wilts took advantage, Dunkerley touching down.
Pollard himself got in on the try scoring after half time and converted before wing Robbie Searle capitalise on a Berkshire error to score his first county try, Pollard taking the tally over 50 with the conversion.
Lyons' break set up Bradford on Avon centre Charlie Elton for another converted try and Dunkerley added a second.
Berkshire hit back through replacement Seb Lear and - after home lock Chris Hughes was sent to the sin-bin, visiting hooker Mike Bunn added another score.
But the hosts' full-back Karim Lynch added another try for Dorset & Wilts to seal their emphatic triumph.
, snuffing out what ever glimmer of hope Berkshire They now travle to take on Leicestershire in a repeat of the 2010 final at Twickenham.
Dorset & Wilts: Karim Lynch (Bournemouth) Robbie Searle (Bournemouth), Charlie Elton (Bradford on Avon), Oliver Pickford (Salisbury), Ben Stewart (Bournemouth) Dan Pollard (Bournemouth), Sam Hardcastle (Bournemouth), Richard Carrel (Bournemouth), Gareth Blackborrow (Salisbury), Steve Bailey (Corsham), Chris Hughes (Bournemouth), Rhys Jones (Corsham), Liam Gilbert (Chinnor), Tony Dunkerley (Bournemouth), Gavin Hart (Bournemouth).
Substitutes (rolling): John Warren (Dorchester), Alan Low (Swindon), Bobby Lyons (Chippenham), Alex Bradley (BWS), Rob Luckham (Salisbury), Tim Berry (Swindon), Tom Pottage (Salisbury).
MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES