Eastleigh capped off a fantastic season for the club as they beat fellow Hampshire side Portsmouth to lift the Hampshire Bowl.
The visitors started the better of the two sides and were soon on the scoreboard; Russell Smith claimed the ball at the lineout and the dominant driving maul saw Terry Papworth open his side’s account for the afternoon. With windy conditions playing their part, the conversion was missed. 0-5.
Jack Berry and the Logothetis brothers ran hard at the Portsmouth defence but it was Will Rigglesford who scored next. His darting run from scrum half saw him beat the full back in a footrace down the right wing, and in for the score in the corner. Once again, the conversion was missed, 0-10.
Eastleigh pushed for further scores but Portsmouth managed to turn the ball over and clear their lines. However, the clearance kick gave possession straight back to Eastleigh and the crisp handling enabled the ball to find Tyson Evans who outpaced two defenders to score the try. 0-15.
Half time approached but Eastleigh still found time to score another try; the high kick wasn’t gathered and after a couple of bounces, Panos Logothetis capitalised on the loose ball and ran in under the posts. Matt Lovell duly converted to extend the advantage to 0-22.
The visitors started the second half as they ended the first and recorded another try within minutes. Paul Fudio and Dan Achilles carried hard into contact and as the ball went wide, Matt Blackman went over for the try. The conversion was missed, 0-27.
All of sudden, Portsmouth responded with three unanswered tries to close the gap to 17-27, it was evident that this final was anything but over.
Play began to get more competitive with both sides eager to get the next score; the ball spilled out the back of a ruck and was gathered by Terry Papworth who found himself with an open field in front of him. As the covering defence caught him, he offloaded to Aaron Barnes who raced through unopposed. Matt Lovell converted 17-34.
After Matt Blackman was given a yellow card, Portsmouth found time to register another converted try before full time to give Eastleigh a 24-34 victory.
Man of the Match: Will Legothetis