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No time for rest in Hampshire 1
6:00am Friday 28th February 2014 in Sport
There is no time for rest in the battle for Snows Group Hampshire 1 supremacy.
The contest for the one automatic promotion place to the London Leagues is so tight this season that one slip-up can take clubs from first to fourth or fifth in an afternoon, writes Clive Downton.
And one of the leading two is likely to take a tumble tomorrow as this week’s pacesetters, Andover, take on second-placed Team Solent who are keen to step up a level for the second season in a row.
However the students will have to put in a better show than when the two sides last met – the university side suffered their first defeat of the season 41-0 last November.
Solent kept themselves in the title hunt with a 59-5 victory over Romsey last week and spokesman Matt Bishop said: “We hope we can take some momentum from that solid performance and keep up the pressure on the top teams for the remainder of the season.
“We know exactly how tough the last five matches will be, and it all starts away to Andover.
“We are really looking forward to competing for the league top spot. It will go to the wire.”
Andover coach Andy Waite agrees, saying: “Our next two games are Solent University and US Portsmouth who are the two teams closest to us.
“As our final three games are ones we would hope to do well in, these two games are pivotal.
“We’re not the only ones though, as all of the top teams have tough fixtures and it’s really how we do against each other that will determine who finishes where.
“It’s the most exciting finish for years as all of the top five clubs have improved so much from last year, so we’ll just keep plugging away.” Third-placed Fordingbridge will want nothing less than a bonus point win from their clash with visitors Isle of Wight.
Millbrook, who have recently been edged out of the top four, need a good win on their Five Acres field against Bognor to get back into the race.
US Portsmouth are fourth after sitting top a couple of weeks ago and head to third-from-bottom Romsey.