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BERKSHIRE 17 HAMPSHIRE 38

Match report by Richard V Isaacs

A hat-trick from Tottonians centre Richard Buck helped Hampshire secure a comprehensive 38-17 victory over Berkshire in their final warm-up fixture before the start of the County Championship next weekend.

Hampshire ran in six tries, four of which were converted by the impressive Alex Sutherland, to give the selectors some headaches ahead of the Championship opener on May 6 against North Midlands.

Buck opened the scoring after just six minutes but some sustained pressure from the hosts just before the end of the first quarter.

In a game being played over four quarters of 20 minutes each, Berkshire grabbed the lead when they intercepted a Hampshire attack and sprinted 70 yards to the line early in the second.

However, when Buck sliced through for his and Hampshire's second, it was a lead they didn't relinquish for the remainder of the contest on a chilly night in Newbury.

On the stroke of half-time, flanker Kemp Price, playing his first senior game for the county and putting in a stellar performance, posted Hampshire's third try to give them a 19-10 interval advantage.

Berkshire did strike back with a try early in the third segment but, once again, the visitors scored with the last move of the period thanks to Sutherland burrowing to the line.

With the coaches making plenty of changes, the final quarter saw Worthing prop Dan Sargent pile drive to the line and Buck completed his hat-trick with the final move of the game.

Hampshire's face a tough Championship season as they attempt to lift Division 2 to follow winning the Shield last season.

They travel to Dudley Kingswinford a week on Saturday before hosting Somerset and Warwickshire.

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