Top teams battle in Hampshire 1

Basingstoke Gazette: Team Solent take on Fordinbgbridge in November. Team Solent take on Fordinbgbridge in November.

The latest episode in the nailbiting battle for Snows Group Hampshire 1 supremacy kicks off at 3pm tomorrow.

And all eyes will be on The Rec where new leaders Fordingbridge are likely to be put to the test by a side that held top spot throughout the autumn, writes CLIVE DOWNTON.

Team Solent still have ambitions of promotion for the second year in a row, but an away victory at Bridge is vital if they are to achieve their aim.

Solent’s Matt Bishop said: “We are 100 per cent up for Saturday’s game. Both teams have a chance for the top two places, and we both like to play flowing running rugby, so it should be a cracker.

“Although we have the confidence that we have beaten all three of our remaining opponents in the reverse fixture, we’re also well aware we are the most inexperienced side in this league, and will be playing some of the most experienced, which I’m sure will be a factor at some stage. “We set out at the start of the season to give a good account for ourselves in this new league and aimed for a top five finish. We’re extremely pleased with the position we find ourselves in, and we are looking to finish the season as we started.”

However bonus point victories in their three remaining games will secure the title for Fordingbridge and mean they do not have to take part in the play-offs where they have been so bitterly disappointed to lose out for the last two season.

Second-placed Andover, who have an easier run-in on paper, are ready to pounce on any mistakes.

The All Blacks also have three games to go and they are against sides from the other end of the table – Southampton (tomorrow), Romsey and Overton.

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