Bill Beaumont Senior Men's County Championship Division 1 South

Match report by Tim Allen

Hampshire suffered a third successive defeat in the Bill Beaumont County Championship Division 1 South but, once again, were far from outclassed against higher ranked opponents.

In fact, it was only a last kick penalty which denied Hampshire two bonus points instead of one and despite losing all three games, their point difference was just minus 21 in their first sojourn into the top flight of the Championship.

On a warm afternoon on the AGP surface at Havant, Hampshire surprised their visitors, brimming with players from National Division 1 and 2 leagues when Curtis Barnes went over to give the hosts a six-minute lead, converted by Joel Knight.

But this seemed to wake up Kent and two tries in the space of three minutes from McIntosh and Dowsett put them into the ascendancy, a lead that was extended before the break when prop forward North dropped on the loose ball over the line.

The interval lead was just three points however when a great break down the blindside released local hero Scott Morris down the left and with skipper Knight's conversion left Hampshire just 14-17 behind.

Three tries in 11 minutes seemed to take the wind out of the Hampshire sail when McIntosh, Pickersgill and Davey all went over to stretch Kent well into the lead.

However, a blistering run down the line from James Wise brought Hampshire's third try of the afternoon and when Harrison Young drove over from a lineout catch and drive, Hampshire were within the seven for a deserved extra bonus point.

Just like last week at Okehampton, Smart's penalty was to deny the home side the point and leave them at the foot of the table.

With just two nine-point defeats and a last gasp penalty loss to show for their sterling efforts, there is plenty of encouragement in the Hampshire ranks coming up against players who regularly play at a considerably higher level than they.

Hampshire has players from London Division's 2 and 3 South-West while the majority of their opponents are playing at least National League standard.


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