Alton Rugby Football Club

Alton Left to Rue Missed Chances

Sat 31 Oct 2009, 14:30


22 - 29

Burgess Hill


A largely second-string Alton put up a defiant showing before losing to Burgess Hill in the Junior Vase Second Round.

Alton suffered their first competitive defeat of the season after Sussex 1 high-flyers Burgess Hill brought their Junior Vase campaign to an end at Anstey Park.

It was a evenly-matched and pulsating, if error-strewn, cup tie in which both sides ran in four tries, with Hill's seven-point victory margin provided by the reliable boot of stand-off Owain Jenkins.

Hill, forced to play for an hour after the sending-off of prop Adam Lane, proved to be worthy winners, although Alton were left to rue a poor start, some needless defensive lapses and a couple of costly missed second-half opportunities.

The Junior Vase may well be the gravy to the meat and potatoes of the league, but Alton coach Jonathan Arundel can be rightly pleased with his makeshift side's efforts.

With nine changes from last week and a dozen absentees in all, Saturday's cup tie offered Arundel a chance to hand out debuts to a number of fringe first-team players - and the way they acquitted themselves suggests that there is more depth to Alton's senior squad than at any time in recent years.

The forwards completed admirably at the set pieces and when the ball was sent wide, Alton's backs posed Hill numerous problems.

Four well-taken tries were a decent reward for their efforts and had they not spurned a couple of gilt-edged second-half chances - both knock-ons over the line - Alton could have made this week's third round draw.

Hill certainly began the stronger, Howard Pickett scoring a brace in the opening quarter to open a 14-0 lead, but Alton narrowed the deficit when ever-improving teenage flanker Chris Cox touched down after a catch-and-drive.

When Lane was sent off for serious foul play after half an hour, Alton appeared to have been handed the upper hand, especially when Matt Spencer scored to trim the visitors' lead to 14-10 at the half-time interval.

But Hill bounced back, and a try from David Daley and a Jenkins penalty handing them a seemingly unassailable 22-10 advantage midway through the second period.

A try by Matt Connor, converted by Kieran Collins, brought Alton to within a striking distance before Hill settled the game with a well-worked try, when wing Owen Larrard gathered Jenkins' cross-kick to score in the corner.

Spencer added a late consolation to lend the scoreline a more realistic feel and give Arundel and his coaching staff some headaches at this week's selection meeting.

- Alton will aim to make it seven Hants One wins out of seven when they face a tricky trip to league dark horses Millbrook this Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).

Alton: Collins; M O'Connor, J O'Connor, Price, Spencer; Johns, Pead (c) (Forsyth, 50); Happel, King, Fleming; Greenhalgh (Renehan, 71), Osborne; Cox, Lee, Flanagan (MacDonell, 60).
Tries: Spencer (2), O'Connor, Cox;
Conversion: Collins.

With thanks to Burgess Hill RFC for additional info.

Pics from this match (thank you, Sam Law) can be viewed here:


Go back