SATURDAY saw the opening home game of this season for Amesbury RFC in their first campaign in the league structure.

Since narrowly losing the final by one point in the Wilts and Dorset Plate last season to Puddletown, there has been a resounding sense of excitement around the club with the Men’s team wanting another shot at the competition.

First up to achieve this was a home quarter final with local rivals Dinton.

The fixture was played in difficult conditions and started at a frenetic pace with both teams being unable to seize early opportunities to score.

Amesbury drew first blood in the contest with a try from scrum half Freddy Seruisavou, which Kyle Hookway converted to make it 7-0 to the home side.

The next 15 minutes were a tug of war with both sides defences earning plaudits for their temerity.

Amesbury gained a brief respite when Dinton’s No 8 was sin binned for a high tackle but they unable to press home the one man advantage.

On his return to the pitch, No 8 Dan Chappell looked to make amends with some big carries which eventually saw Dinton push hard and through a barrage of forwards play crossed the Amesbury line to level the score at 7-7 going into half time.

The second half started at the same pace as the first finished but this time it was Dinton who crossed the white line first to push home some concerted scrum play with a try of their own to make it 12-7 to the visitors.

Although unconverted, Dinton followed this up with a penalty.

With 20 minutes to go Amesbury saw themselves back in the match with another converted try from centre Lorima Tagicakibau, the forwards piling on the pressure in the loose allowing them the bring the attacking flair of the back line into play and reduced the lead to one.

Amesbury were next to see yellow when their winger Matt Robinson was penalised for not rolling away at the tackle.

The game ebbed and flowed for the next 10 minutes, with Dinton having the closest opportunity to score, only an outstanding defensive effort from the home side prevented a score and the return of the sin bin, bringing the sides equal again, seemed to be the catalyst for Amesbury.

They attacked from the wide channels, with captain Matt Lee metres away from the try line only to be hauled down agonisingly short.

The sense was the Amesbury had a last push in them and from the resulting ruck saw them hit the Dinton defence with wave after wave of attacks until they crossed the line from hooker Karl Rhodes with two minutes left on the clock.

Although the resulting conversion was missed, Amesbury were now 19-15 in front and although from the restart Dinton managed to force a scrum, their previous dominance faded and Amesbury were able to disrupt their attack.

Dinton pushed hard to claw back the deficit but in the final tackle Matt Lee was first to his feet and saw him over the ball to turnover possession and provide secure ball for No 10 Ben Watson to thump the ball into touch giving Amesbury the spoils and a place in the semi-final, much to the delight of their coach Daz Rogers, who spent the majority of the match on tenterhooks trapesing up and down the touchline following his charges.

A notable mention for Dinton for Ben Coombes who was outstanding in the lineout and the loose and for Amesbury, Matt Lee and centre Lorima Tagicakibau were outstanding in their defensive effort, setting the standard for the rest of the season.

They will now travel to Cricklade in the final four on October 13.

Thanks also to the referee for the day Alex Ronald, who’s experience let the game flow and ensured a competitive but good natured contest between the teams.

Also thanks to Amesbury sponsors this season Hofmeister Beer and The Bank Cocktail bar as well as the match sponsor DJAW Limited.