2:10pm Thursday 29th May 2014
By Clive Downton
Eastleigh RFC's will to win has served them well over the last season - and they could now be on the verge of victory in a popularity contest.
The club has been dominating the NatWest RugbyForce competition - an internet-based challenge that identifies and rewards grassroots rugby clubs with the biggest support in their local community.
Eastleigh were sitting on top of the regional and national table with just hours to go before tomorrow's midday deadline.
They were almost 250 points ahead of Hertfordshire side Tring in the London & South-East section and looking good to pick up the Pride of the Region Award.
But, being the only side in the land with more than 1,000 points at one stage, Eastleigh were also leading the race to become the outright Pride of the Nation.
An England international player will visit the club that wins the regional section, and the club will also be presented with a plaque and BBQ set. A complete pitch kit awaits the successful side in the national competition.
Outgoing Eastleigh captain Russell Smith is urging fans, family and friends to help the recent Gales HSB Hampshire Bowl winners over the finish line as one of his final official duties.
He said: “For me winning this would be a way of giving something back to the club before I'm out of the scene completely.
“I want us to be on the map and we have done that in terms of performances on the field in the last few years so let's go a little further and really let people know our name.
“We seem to be flying the flag for Hampshire so I would urge people to vote for us.”
Hampshire's only other team in the top ten on Thursday was Isle of Wight.
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