FORDINGBRIDGE opened their home campaign with a 41-24 victory over Alresford after a dominant performance, writes MARTIN NORTON.

It was the visitors who struck first after a long period of possession from the kick off.

Unable to get their hands on the ball 'Bridge conceded the opening try within five minutes, which Alresford converted.

However, two almost identical three quarter moves from Fordingbridge saw two superb tries in the corner for Tom Sheppard and two equally impressive conversions from captain Mark Hammond on the touch line.

Alresford clawed part of the lead back with a penalty but an pass intercept from Steve Brown gave him a touchdown under the posts for Hammond to convert.

A penalty for the home side this time re-established the gap but a great converted try from Alresford on the stroke of half time meant that Fordingbridge went into the break with a narrow 24-17 lead.

The second half carried on in the same vein as the first with hard and expansive rugby from both sides.

However, Fordingbridge started to take control as the match approached the final quarter with three unanswered tries.

The first from Tom Sheppard for his hat-trick and two from Charlie Boyns. Hammond converted one of them and with five minutes remaining and the score at 41-17 to the home side the match was all but over.

Alresford, as they did in the first half, had the last say with a well worked try and with the successful conversion being the last kick of the match, a super game of rugby came to an end.

Ben Bealey was awarded man of the match after his first run out for the side this season, playing in the centres.

Fordingbridge 2XV had a difficult afternoon away at Portsmouth losing 38-26.

Next week the firsts are back on the road up the M3 to Farnborough, who have had a shaky start to the season, but are always tough opposition especially at home.