DORSET & Wiltshire narrowly missed out a Twickenham triumph at the weekend as they fell to a 23-13 defeat to Cumbria in the Bill Beaumont Senior Men’s County Championship Division Three final.

The Twin Counties qualified for the final with 100 per cent record after beating Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Middlesex in their pool games.

Cumbria also arrived at Twickenham unbeaten in the championship, so an exciting contest looked to be on the cards at the home of English rugby.

From the kick-off, Cumbria took the initiative and put the Twin Counties onto the back foot, frantically defending their line. Under almost constant pressure, the defence buckled, allowing Cumbria in for a converted try.

Four minutes later, a Dorset & Wilts player strayed offside and they were punished for their transgressions as a penalty put Cumbria 10-0 up after only 16 minutes.

After a period of nip and tuck rugby where neither side gained the upper hand, the ball was moved out wide to wing Ross Williams, who outpaced the Cumbria defence to touch down and open the Dorset & Wilts account.

The Twin Counties were punished again before half-time, though, as a couple of penalties saw Cumbria take a 16-5 lead into the break.

The second half started as the first finished, with the Twin Counties inside their own half. However, they began to get the upper hand as the game progressed.

In the 46th minute, the ball ended up in the grasp of the Fijian winger Laisiasa Vinakadina, who drove over the line for a try and cut the deficit to six points.

Twin Counties fly-half Sam Baker then further reduced the gap with a penalty.

However, Cumbria were masters at running down the clock and as Dorset & Wilts became more desperate, a spilled pass allowed the ball to be hacked downfield and resulting in a scrum 10m out from the Twin Counties tryline.

Cumbria had the put in and they gathered and drove over the whitewash for a converted try to pull 23-13 in front with only three minutes remaining.

From the restart, the Twin Counties players hardly managed to get their hands on the ball, and as the referee blew the final whistle to end the contest, the pain on the faces of the faces of the Dorset & Wilts players was clear to see.

After the game, Dorset & Wilts RFU representative Ron Jones said: “All credit to Cumbria, they were the better team on the day, but take nothing away from our lads they gave their all and if we had managed to hang on to the ball more often when we had possession, then who knows.

“We definitely had an advantage out wide where both our wingers scored tries, but we just didn’t get the ball to them often enough.

“However, we have a great bunch of lads and I am sure they will come good again. They have played at Twickenham, which is the pinnacle of rugby for everyone who picks up a rugby ball.”