DARTMOUTH Rugby Club were crowned champions of the Counties 3 Tribute Devon South & West league on Saturday by some 14 points.

There was a damp squib to the celebrations when neighbours Totnes failed to raise a team and therefore Dartmouth were awarded the points. But you cannot take anything away from this Dartmouth team as they have shown such stamina, character and resourcefulness throughout the season. To go through 22 games undefeated is a striking achievement.

Club historian Andy Williams believes that this is an all-time record for the club and there are not many teams who can boast such success this season.

Manager Andrew Tomkinson said, "It's been a long season but what an end to it. We were hoping today to play celebration rugby against Totnes and end the season in style.

“As a team we have improved each week and the majority of our games were a pleasure to watch. The lads were prepared to run the ball from anywhere on the pitch with adventurous, open rugby. You only have to look at the number of points we have scored this season, with Sam Churchill scoring 227 points and Billy Colthart  grabbing 30 tries.

“Praise must go to the club's coaching staff of Nick Shillabeer, Reg Varney, Chris Chater, Colin Wilson and Jake Bridgwood, who encouraged the players each week and coached our younger players who are still learning.

“Special thanks must go to our loyal fans who have increased in numbers each week. They have followed the team both home and away and their encouragement from the touchline has raised the team’s play on the field. We must also thank our club sponsors for this season. Without their financial help, the team and club could not run so smoothly.

“There will be further celebrations when we receive the league champions’ shield from Devon RFU."

It was also good to see Dartmouth RFC Riversiders 2nd XV play on Saturday.

President Steve Atkins and coaching staff have been attempting to get regular fixtures for a second XV and it has now come into fruition when the Riversiders entertained Bideford Harlequin XV on Norton Field. Bideford were supposed to be playing at Tiverton but their match was cancelled so they agreed to travel the extra distance to Dartmouth.

In an entertaining game, the Riversiders ran out winners by 42-7 with tries coming from Fin Webb, Andy Ford, Piers Benjamin, Jaime Kearney, Dec Hammond and Tom Clark with Xavier Picot kicking the conversions. Considering Bideford recently beat Honiton and narrowly lost to Ilfracombe, this was a great win for the Riversiders.

Further fixtures will be arranged for next season and a second XV can only raise the profile of the club for the future.