ELLINGHAM & Ringwood Rugby Club's party continues after the runaway league champions made a season to remember even more spectacular by adding the Gales Hampshire Bowl.

The Es' league and cup double was completed with a tremendous 28-20 win against current holders Petersfield just a week after the club celebrated its 40th anniversary.

A soggy Picket Post was the setting for a rip-roaring contest in which the Foresters avenged last season's final defeat by a side from the league that the Es will be playing in next season after securing promotion.

Es had already won one battle as before the match was deemed playable, club members had rallied to remove gallons of water from the pitch following a downpour that had lasted all the previous night and most of Sunday morning.

Ellingham started strong and immediately demonstrated the power they have in their forwards as they mauled the ball fully 20 metres up the pitch.

However, it was Petersfield who registered the first points.

Ellingham were guilty of playing the ball on the floor and a tenth minute penalty, converted from 40m out, left the home side trailing 3-0.

Four minutes later, Ellingham won a lineout on their opponents 22-metre line. Dave Powell threw straight and true and Duncan Soden caught at full stretch to bring the ball down.

With superb support from Darryl Langford, a maul started its way up the pitch.

A stunned Petersfield could do nothing as the Es drove on and on until number eight James Canneaux put the ball over the line to make it 5-3.

On 20 minutes, Ellingham were awarded a scrum ten metres from the Petersfield try line.

Scrum-half Ross Whale put the ball in and skipper Robbie Mitchell rallied his troops to drive on hard and straight.

Canneaux controlled the ball at his feet until again he was able to put the ball over the line to extend their lead to seven points.

Ellingham, roared on by a 400-strong crowd, were now in full control, however, Petersfield, who won last year's final in extra time, were soon back in contention.

On the half hour they cranked up the pace and a super try scored wide right and converted well brought them to within two points.

And just before the break Petersfield regained the lead with another try on the right to put them 15-10 up.

However, from the restart a Petersfield forward was penalised and fly-half Andy Weeks kicked a crucial three points that took Ellingham into half-time trailing 13-15.

The mood at the break was good as Ellingham felt they had kept the score close, even though Petersfield had had the wind behind them.

Centre Rich Major rallied his team mates as coach Steve Anderson called for discipline and passion.

The Es now had the wind at their backs and duly forced most of the rugby to be played in the Petersfield half. However, they struggled to make their possession count.

The inevitable happened on 56 minutes, when, against the run of play, Petersfield scored to increase their lead to seven points.

The crowd certainly played their part, lifting the home side and confidence grew as Canneaux completed a hat-trick of tries following great skill from Allen Gilbert and Charlie Levy to set him up.

Weeks curled the conversion over to level the scores at 20-20 and thoughts immediately turned to a re-run of last season's extra time.

The Es were determined not to let history repeat itself however.

Ellingham's backs stood tall and some fine tackling from Josh Beavis and Adam Fityan prevented a couple of certain tries.

With just ten minutes remaining, winger Dawfydd Williams received the ball wide left, he had little room to manoeuvre, so he grubber-kicked the ball, nut-megging his opposing winger.

Williams chased hard and managed to get downward pressure on the ball despite being tackled early by Petersfield's full-back to put Es in front.

Again Petersfield responded, but this time, were quite literally stopped in their tracks as their outside centre met the full force of full back Derek Webb and was sent several metres back.

With just moments to go, Weeks slotted a penalty to complete the 28-20 scoreline, much to the delight of their supporters.

Skipper Mitchell lifted the trophy and toasted the late Dickie Birch before the celebrations began.

An emotional Anderson said afterwards: "We have achieved so much this year. Every one of the boys was heroic today.

"I am so proud of each and every member of this season's squad. We will cherish this moment for many, many years."

Ellingham president Donald Bailey added: "Petersfield gave us a cracking game of rugby and showed great humility in defeat.

"These are two of the best clubs in Hampshire and they put on a great display for the biggest crowd I've ever seen at Picket."