BOURNEMOUTH-based Oakmeadians returned to 15-a-side rugby for the first time in nine months when they went down 22-7 to Wimborne at Meyrick Park.

Playing within the revised rules that ban scrums and mauls to reduce the amount of physical contact, Oakmeadians put up a strong show against their higher tier opponents, who play two leagues above in the regional south west set-up.

The Dorset and Wilts League team competed well to restrict Wimborne to a 12-point gap going into the final stages and also had the satisfaction of a late consolation try by Charlie Roberts, converted by Tom Brown.

In addition to the new on-field rules set by the RFU, stringent efforts were made to ensure the safety of a considerable number of spectators who braved the heavy downpours to enjoy the return of grass roots rugby.

Although the clubhouse was only open for takeaways, special precautions were taken to make it Covid secure with the NHS track and trace system deployed, while players arrived changed and ready.

Oakmeadians Chairman Jane Hart said: "This was the first full-sided, local rugby to be played in the area since March and took an enormous amount of organising to ensure that we complied with the new measures, but it was really exciting to see people out enjoying the game at grass roots again."