Gosport and Fareham 15pts, Basingstoke 33

HAMPSHIRE CUP holders stayed on course for their ninth success in 13 seasons with a 33-15 win over a spirited Gosport and Fareham outfit.

The 'Stoke side was force to reshuffle after Phil Della-Savina was unavailable due to family commitments and Tom Dean injured his knee in the warm-up.

This saw Ian Calder move to scrum half and Neal Taylor to fly half and those changes meant 'Stoke took their time to get going as Gosport came out fired up.

The visitors opened their account with a penalty from Ian Calder only to fall behind to a try.

But a storming run from the halfway line by Chris Norton then saw him touch down under the post and Calder converted for a 10-8 first-half lead.

After the break, the home side were penalised a lot more and this helped the visitors to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Calder kicked a penalty after five minutes and then Norton scored his second try. Again, Calder converted.

With 18 minutes remaining, Gosport narrowed the gap with a converted try to make it 20-15.

But any hope they had of overturning the deficit disappeared as Calder kicked two more penalties before the final score of the game.

That was started by a tap penalty from Richard Baker, he fed Taylor who, in turn, once more gave the ball to Norton to run from the halfway line.

He was held up short of the line but the home side came in from the wrong side and over the top to leave the referee no choice but to award a penalty try. Calder once more converted for a 33-15 scoreline.

'Stoke will now travel to Havant - the same opponents and same venue as last year - for the final on March 24.

Although he was pleased the side were through to the final, Calder said: "Unfortunately, it was another game when we didn't perform to the best of our ability. But we got the win and Chris Norton showed superb individual play and was unlucky not to get a third try."

Basingstoke: N Young, M Evans (A Riley), S Collins, S Drawbridge, N Hooker (S Appleby), M Reeve, R Baker, S St Bernard (A Watson), I Calder, N Taylor, R Holmes, G Jones, J Rees, R Joseph, C Norton Reps: (not used) S Buttle, D Jones.