=SOUTHAMPTON University overcame a spirited challenge from Jersey United Banks to lift the Hampshire Gales Plate for the first time in their history, scoring six tries to run out comfortable 40-18 victors.

It was a fitting end to student life for the large majority of the players, who will be leaving campus shortly, as their silky, free-flowing back division continued to cause problems for the Channel Islanders.

The visitors had little response to the first half-hour, in which the University ran in four tries as the Banks chased shadows.

John Doyle opened the scoring after only nine minutes and two further tries in the space of two minutes sucked the life from the surprise package as Tim Barry sprinted over into the corner and James Weeks followed up a long upfield kick to scamper under the posts.

Jimmy McCormack got the Banks on the board with two penalties but they were the break between Nick Harrison's try for the home side, taking an inside pass.

Banks, however, refused to give up and, using their heavier pack produced two tries in the second half as the drove over from close range through Paul Hands and Richard Stevens which continued to keep them interested mid-way through the period.

However, skipper Ben Creed had charged up the middle to score number five before Weeks ensured the trophy would sit proudly in the Student Union in injury time, breaking through the dogged Jersey defending.

University captain Creed was proud of his players and, through vice-captain James Weeks, said: "It was a great way for this side to finish, this being our final 15-a-side game together.

"We took it to them early on, but they came back strongly. However, we ran away at the end and the result was a lot closer than the score suggests. It is a fantastic win for us and we are very proud."

Julian DeGruchy, the Banks skipper, was pleased with his team's performance, particularly in the second half, as they were swept away in the opening quarter.

"It was a good game for us, barring the first quarter which was very one-sided," he said. "But we fought right to death and scored two good tries.

"We are really pleased to have been here and got this far, but we didn't deserve to win and congratulations to the University, who played well."