doc

Newly-promoted Eastleigh kicked off their London 2 South-West campaign with a victory – after paying tribute to a former colt.

The club’s senior side stood in a minute’s silence as everyone at The Hub, Bishopstoke Road remembered 18-year-old Hampshire soldier Jack Prebble, who died in a motorcycle accident on September 2.

And the first team went on to do their former clubmate proud in their first game at SW2 level, beating visitors Effingham & Leatherhead 9-3, as kicking decided a closely fought contest between two physical sides.

Phil Baldwin justified new captain Jack Berry’s decision to go for three points from an early penalty. But the teams turned around level at 3-3 after the home team strayed offide.

Eastleigh went back on the attack after the break with hard running lines from Berry and Jack Willoughby, but only added another three points as they forced more infringements.

The home side’s best opportunity for a try came when Baldwin chipped over the rushing defence, gathered the ball and then kicked for the line. The visiting full back just about won the foot race for the ball, and grounded to let off the pressure.

Another penalty from Baldwin gave Eastleigh a little daylight and some stubborn defending took them through to the final whistle.

Eastleigh, who travel to Gosport & Fareham on Saturday, named second row Russell Smith as their man of the match.

Gosport, relegated from London 1 last term, got off to a winning start with a 15-12 home victory over Winchester - the winning try coming in the 82nd minute of play.

Winch went into 6-0 lead after ten minutes from a couple of successful penalties from Harry Johnstone. He slotted home another while Gosport hooker Sean Shepherd was sidelined with a yellow card, but Alex Duncombe hit back with a penalty for Gos.

Winchester also had a player sin binned just before the break, starting a period when more yellow cards were shown than points scored – Number 8 Tim Snowden followed for Gosport and was joined by Winchester captain Alex Lee.

Winchester looked in control for much of the first 40 minutes but it was a different story after the break.

Gosport scrum half Wes Dugan pounced on a loose ball from a defensive Winchester scrum to put his side a point ahead.

Winch struck with a penalty to go 12-10 up with a minute left. However, Snowden scored in the second minute of five added on.

Andover, who host Winchester next weekend, came away from Farnham with a 33-31 victory.