Alton Rugby Football Club

Rampant Alton Romp to Title

Sat 27 Mar 2010, 15:00

Aldershot & Fleet

0 - 60



Alton overran relegated Aldershot & Fleet to claim their first league silverware since 1997.

Match photos.

Alton have captured their first league silverware since 1997 after hammering bottom club Aldershot and Fleet to clinch the Hampshire One title. They will take their place in the London leagues after a four-year absence.

And they did so in exhilarating fashion, running in ten tries without reply and defying the sodden underfoot conditions and occasional heavy showers in the process.

Even the weather gods seemed to approve: by the time referee Ian Pennell blew his final whistle to trigger raucous Alton celebrations, the rain had gone and the ground was bathed in sunlight. Indeed, it was a sunshine day for Alton Rugby Club and their 100-strong band of followers who had made the short journey across the A31.

Alton's performer-in-chief was Dan Forsyth, whose hat-trick of tries was an apt reward for an electric performance at full-back. Flanker Steven Sorby, lock Stephen Osborne and number eight Will Ford were all brutally effective work-horses and often devastating ball-carriers. However, to a man, Alton were absolutely bang on their game.

For A&F, it was a sombre occasion but their generosity in defeat was a credit to this up-and-coming club.

They came within a whisker of a draw in the sides' December meeting, but this time it was a different story. Relegated before the start of play, they had the misfortune to come across an Alton side freakishly high in confidence. A&F tackled their socks off and had a couple of half-chances, but they were simply overrun.

Pick of the A&F bunch was former Altonian Jonathan Green. Still greatly respected at Anstey Park, Green fought valiantly against his old team-mates but with the A&F scrummage going backwards at a rate of knots, his efforts at number eight proved to be in vain.

Needing just a draw to secure promotion, Alton's rugby was eye-candy from the word go. They were all clever running lines, quick hands and off-loads and always seemed to have the spare man, but the final pass proved to be elusive in those edgy opening minutes.

In fact A&F nearly took the lead through Chris Bird's 10th-minute drop-goal attempt but six minutes later Alton had their opening, nerve-settling try. A corker it was too - seven quick phases stretched the A&F defence to breaking point and Forsyth waltzed under the posts.

Five minutes later, Sorby picked up from the back of ruck to extend Alton's lead and when Ford touched down from a pushover scrum four minutes later, it was 17-0 and the nervousness of the early stages had been obliterated.

Forysth added his second try in the 28th minute, Luke Parratt supplying the scoring pass after a sustained move involving all 15 players - Ford's touchline conversion made it 24-0. Four tries in 12 minutes and Alton were reaching for the bubbly.

The second half proved to be something of prolonged celebration, with the visitors turning on the style and running tries at will.

Osborne added a brace of tries to his growing collection, both from rolling mauls, and Forsyth completed his hat-trick in the 57th minute when Matt O'Connor cut a terrific diagonal line from the right wing to cut through the A&F midfield, and his off-load gave Forsyth an easy run-in.

In amongst the try-scoring, Shane Watts made a welcome return to Alton colours - the highly influential utility forward making first appearance in a red and black shirt since picking up a serious abdominal injury last October.

Centres Ed Good and the outstanding Gareth Richards both got themselves on the scoreheet but the highlight of Alton's day came four minutes from time when Ford burst onto a short pop-pass from Lei Alexander on halfway, chipped the ful-back and won the foot-race for the touchdown. It was a wonderful try and a perfect finish to a memorable day.

* Alton take on Farnborough at Anstey Park in their final fixture on 10 April (3pm kick-off). 'Boro have hit a bit of form of late but  need a win to guarantee Hampshire One status.

Alton: Forsyth; O'Connor, Good, Richards, Law (Hemmens, 61); Alexander, Pead; Happel, Parratt, Gay (c); Osborne, Greenhalgh (Oliphant, 61); Sorby, White (Watts, 53), Ford.


Tries: Forysth (16, 28, 57); Sorby (21), Ford (26, 76), Osborne (48, 55), Richards (66), Good (74);

Cons: Ford (5).


Referee: Ian Pennell (Hampshire Referees).

Go back