Eastleigh skipper Russell Smith aims to bow out on a real high

Daily Echo: RUSSELL SMITH RUSSELL SMITH

Eastleigh captain Russell Smith admits it would be a dream come true if his side lift the Gales HSB Hampshire Bowl in his final match as skipper ahead of their semi-final tie against Sandown & Shanklin tomorrow at The Hub (3pm).

The 31-year-old will step down after four years as the club’s captain at the end of the current season and he feels that finishing the campaign with a third place finish in London 3 South-West, which has already been secured, and a trophy in the cabinet will be the ultimate ending to his tenure.

Eastleigh have already marked this season with their highest ever finish, beating Sandown & Shanklin to third place and ending their league campaign with an excellent victory over mid-table side Purley John Fisher 30-27.

Now they turn their attentions to the Bowl, where they are aiming to emulate what they’ve already done once this term, and get the better of the Isle Of Wight outfit.

“We aren’t underestimating Sandown & Shanklin, they are a very strong side, especially at home,” said Smith. “They have very fluent offloading and are very good with the ball in their hands.

“But we have a few tricks up our sleeve and are hopeful that we can beat them.”

Eastleigh have almost a fully fit squad with hooker Stu Mason (prior engagement) and young winger Sam Prout (back strain) the only absentees.

“We’ve got enough about us, but you can’t predict anything. We are very much looking forward to the occasion,” said Smith, who will continue as a squad player next season after giving up the captaincy.

“I’ve been involved heavily in rugby my whole life and now it’s time to focus slightly on other things, but I will be still playing next season.”

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