EARLY dominance proved key for Yeovil at the weekend as Devizes slipped to a painful 18-17 loss away from home in Southern Counties South.

Following wins over Bradford-on-Avon and Corsham in recent weeks, Devizes were looking to build on their impressive form when facing their Somerset rivals – but hit a stumbling block as 12 early points proved decisive in the game’s outcome.

Missing multiple players, Devizes were caught out in the opening phases and found themselves 12-0 behind with less than 15 minutes played following two tries on the wing.

Shaken by the early setback, Devizes set about regaining lost ground while playing into the wind.

Their relentless efforts were rewarded when Luke Rapson found a gap before being tackled metres from the line.

Gus O’Connor was there to nudge the ball forwards before Travis Orwin touched down, reducing the deficit to seven points.

The hosts’ lead was stretched further to 10 points, though, as a penalty on the stroke of half-time left the score at 15-5 at the break.

Playing with the wind behind them, Devizes stuck to a game plan and soon had Yeovil on the back foot.

As the game reached the hour mark, Conor Scott made a strong run down the wing before feeding the ball to Tommy Hammill, who grounded in the corner to make the score 15-10.

But then came the match-winning moment for Yeovil as a penalty kick in front of the posts handed the home team an eight-point advantage, a gap which proved too large to overhaul.

Determined not to give in, Devizes were rewarded with their first converted try of the afternoon as Orwin went underneath the posts.

Robbie McLean’s conversion meant only a point separated both teams, but time had ran out for the visitors – who suffered their eighth loss of the year and consequently dropped to seventh.

Elsewhere, Corsham had lady luck on their side as Kalif Barnes kicked a penalty in the game’s final play to earn a 24-23 win at Dorchester.

Relegation-threatened Dorchester had only won four games this season prior to the weekend, and it looked set to extend to one as the Dorset outfit held a narrow lead in the concluding minutes.

But Barnes’ strike helped Corsham maintain their spot in fifth.

In other results, Bradford-on-Avon’s miserable campaign continued as they crashed to a 15th successive loss when losing to Frome.

Frome controlled the game throughout to remain second by recording a 67-5 win.