Hampshire Plate Final 2018
by Richard V Isaacs
Farnborough lifted the Hampshire Plate for a second time following an impressive second half performance which downed a spirited Southampton side 45-21 on Saturday.
The North Hampshire men shut out their visitors in the second period to salvage a 21-13 half time deficit and ran in three tries to set off wild celebrations after securing the league and cup double.
The hosts dominated the early proceedings and took the lead with a penalty from James Windle after just six minutes.
A quickly taken penalty close to the Southampton line resulted in full-back James Miller scoot over to stamp their authority on the contest.
However, this cajoled the Southampton side and they got themselves on the scoreboard immediately – and then ahead in the game – with two quick tries.
From the restart, Southampton went deep into Farnborough territory and, from a line out, Josh Rihan found his way to the line to cut the deficit, converted by David Bolle-Jones.
Flanker Fola Bishi then put his side ahead, stealing the ball from a ruck after some good pressure on the home sides’ line and going over, again converted by Bolle-Jones.
A beautiful snap at the base of the scrum from Harry Brewer found a gap in the Southampton defence and he sliced his way over but Southampton were to take a commanding lead in to the break.
From a defensive Farnborough scrum, which swung round square, the ball came out but Bolle-Jones intercepted the pass and easily went over and converted his own score to give the visitors an eight point cushion.
A stern half-time team talk saw a revitalised Farnborough side emerge and they dominated proceedings in the second half showers.
After Southampton were reduced to 14 men with a yellow card for a high tackle, the home side were awarded a penalty try by referee Chris Ings as the Saints came under immense pressure in the scrum.
A second Windle penalty restored Farnborough’s lead and he slotted a third on 64 minutes.
As Southampton tired going into the final ten minutes, Farnborough took full advantage and ran in three tries to give the scoreline a much wider reflection than the contest deserved.
First, centre Greg Wood grabbed a loose ball and made his way to the line, successfully converted by Windle when Scott Mead burrowed over the whitewash for their fifth try.
With the clock ticking down, John Browne went over in the corner to seal a memorable season for the North Hampshire men, after winning Snows Group Hampshire 2 the previous week.
Congratulations to Farnborough – Hampshire Plate Winners 2017/18.
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