Isle of Wight RFC have secured promotion to Hampshire Counties Two despite concluding their season with defeat at Eastleigh.

Eastleigh II 36 - 12 IWRFC

Eastleigh showed their pace early on, leaving IW behind their posts after conceding inside 90 seconds.

A clever piece of opportunism by Ricky Keyes led to an IW break and an Eastleigh infringement, which meant a yellow card. 

This was capitalised on by the Islanders, as a prolonged spell of attack ended with Keith Wallace offloading for the supporting Dan Bishop to fend off the last tackler and touch down. George Huish converted, and IW led 7-5 after 15 minutes.

Isle of Wight County Press: IWRFC in action against EastleighIWRFC in action against Eastleigh (Image: Contributions)

Another spell of pressure seemed to promise another score, but an alert Eastleigh winger nipped in to intercept an offload and race the length of the field for a sucker-punch try. 

The hosts finished the half strongly and scored again on the call of half-time to lead 19-7 at the break.

The second half was dominated by Eastleigh's attacks, leading to three more tries. 

IW fought back, with Luke Blackman scoring a late try, but Eastleigh's defence held firm. 

With their third-place finish, up from their sixth-place finish of the previous four seasons, next season's Hampshire Counties Two campaign will be the highest standard the club has played at in seven years.

The day was also notable as the final appearance of club legend Stuart Browne, bringing an end to an illustrious playing career = which began in the 1980s.