Disappointing finale for progressive Fareham Heathens
Fareham Heathens ended their Hampshire one campaign with a bruising 40-10 defeat at Sandown & Shanklin.
The Isle of Wight outfit started brightly and opened their account on three minutes with a penalty.
Heathens hit back with a try from number eight Harry King following some dominant phase-play deep in the home side’s half.
Sandown & Shanklin hit back from the kick-off, though, as they capitalised on a defensive error.
Heathens kept pressing and were finally rewarded with a John Cole try down the short side.
This saw the teams locked 10-10 at the break.
After the break, the hosts grabbed the initiative with a try.
This was followed shortly after by a penalty try when Heathens were adjudged to have pulled down a driving maul that was heading for the line.
Adding a penalty just before the end of the third quarter, Sandown opened up a 25-10 lead.
The hosts continued to batter the Heathens line, with the visitors failing to get any reward for their own forays forward.
A further three Sandown tries arrived in the final quarter.
Heathens director of rugby Bernie Rhodes said: ‘It is all about fine margins, fitness and physicality.
‘We have a great pool of talent but we need to be fitter and more physical if we are to maintain our top-flight status.
‘In the end we won one more game than last season, advanced one place in the tble and ended up with 13 bonus points compared to last season.
‘This is progress but we need more as the new Hampshire Premier League will be another step up.’
Elsewhere, Gosport & Fareham suffered a 47-27 defeat in their London two south west derby at Winchester on Saturday.
Sean Shepherd scored two tries for the Gosport Park outfit.
Wes Dugan, Will Baxandall, and Nathan Titchener were also on the mark for the visitors.