MELKSHAM overhauled home side Avonvale’s first-half lead to claim a 20-12 victory on the opening day of the new Dorset & Wilts One North season.

On a swelteringly hot day in Bath, both teams struggled to settle into a rhythm and failed to convert pressure into points with an infraction or loose ball.

Melksham’s Ali Smith slotted a penalty to give first blood to the visitors and although they seemed to be the stronger side, it was the home team who finished the first half on top as a pair of tries gave them a 12-3 lead.

The visitors took control after the break, scoring two converted tries and a penalty without reply.

Both tries came on the back of heavy carries through the defence as Dave Dyke and Steve Watson powered through would-be tacklers and score, with the extras added by Smith each time.

Smith then added a penalty towards the end to leave Avonvale needing to score twice to overturn the deficit, but the Melksham defence held firm to keep them at bay.

Elsewhere, Warminster also made a winning start to the campaign as they roared past Marlborough 2nd 35-7 at home.

All the action came in the second half, with a Jason Sprangle penalty for Warminster being all that separated the two teams at the break.

The hosts went through the gears in the second half and tries from Dave Bowman (2), Dan McIntyre, Reid Curtis and Dan Woods wrapped up a dominant win.

There was disappointment for Bradford on Avon, however, as they suffered a narrow 24-22 defeat at home to Sutton Benger.