Farnham 17 Eastleigh 7

Eastleigh’s proud unbeaten run came to an end at the weekend at the hands of London 3 South-West’s leaders.

With 15 wins on the bounce, Eastleigh travelled to top side Farnham in confident mood ahead of their toughest test of the campaign.

Despite not having lost a game, Eastleigh were in second place because of Farnham’s superior bonus points tally.

The clash certainly lived up to its billing as the team with the ‘best defence’ in the league were beaten 17-7 by the side with the ‘best attack’.

It means the Surrey club are now clear favourites to win the league but Eastleigh are still on track for promotion and have already secured a place in the Gales HSB Hampshire Bowl.

The heavyweight Farnham pack dominated the early exchanges of the game, forcing penalties from the scrum, but a dogged Eastleigh defence kept the home side at bay.

Eastleigh opened the scoring following a huge up-and-under from Pete Noonan. The Farnham defence allowed the ball to bounce and Tom Willoughby hacked it on for Stu Mason to dive on as it crossed the line. Matt Blackman converted and the visitors took the 7-0 lead into the break.

Farnham’s huge pack earned a penalty as they got on the scoreboard and they went further ahead after being awarded a penalty try from a line-out and driving maul - Paul Taylor yellow carded for his involvement.

Eastleigh pushed hard for a further score and made a number of telling breaks, only to let Farnham off the hook with final passes being dropped.

The league leaders grew in confidence and their offloading game came to the fore as a sharp pass out of the tackle found their prop, who dived over unopposed.

Eastleigh still have a ten-point cushion in second spot – thanks to the efforts of neighbours Trojans who pulled off a great win at third-placed Old Cranleighans.

Trojans were second favourite to win the away clash and things did not look too rosy when they went behind to a try and conversion in the opening minute.

Great defence from both sides kept the first half even but Trojans turned around just one point adrift thanks to two Matt Evenhand penalties.

Cranleighans struck with a try early in the second period and were then forced onto the back foot for much of the half as Trojans pushed for the line. They looked as if they were about to cross it following a charge down the wing but the pressure reaped a penalty try and the simple conversion that followed was enough to earn them a 13-12 success.

Bottom side Millbrook matched their highest score of the season – ironically against leaders Farnham – but lost out 38-24 at Basingstoke.