Old Boys See Off Alton To Lift Title
Sat 31 Mar 2012, 15:00
5 - 27
Old Alleynian are crowned London 3 champions after defeating Alton at Anstey Park.
Ladies' Day at Anstey Park but it was Alleynians' day as the Dulwich-based side beat Alton to clinch the London 3 title.
Alton wore special pink shirts in aid of women's cancer charities, threw a party and drew a bumper crowd but the men in blue stripes proved to be worthy gatecrashers.
Old Alleynians showed that sound execution, a low error-count and good organisation can win you league titles.
There were no pyrotechnics and nothing flash, but they played to their strengths with great efficiency and kept their mistakes to a minimum.
The visitors ran in five tries in all, three of them from rolling mauls, but it was at the breakdown and the tackle areas where they edged the contest, pilfering a hefty chunk of turnover ball that allowed them to control possession and the tempo of much of the game.
Furthermore, the Alleynians' back-row and half-backs bossed the fringes and played with intensity and snappiness that Alton struggled to counter. Scrum-half Fergus Davey, in particular, was irrepressible and Alton found that coping with him was like nailing jelly to a wall.
Alton's solitary score came courtesy of Sam Law's seventh-minute try and though they were combative in all areas of the field, scrummaged well and strung together plenty of bright attacking plays, they never really threatened the visitors' line in any meaningful way.
That was mainly because Alleynians barely missed a tackle all afternoon and seldom lost their defensive shape.
For sure, Alton did make plenty of line-breaks, mostly through Shane Watts' ability to twist and turn out of contact and centre Chris Pratt's excellent running lines, but too often promising attacks fizzled out. And once again, too many tackles were missed in defence.
Credit also to some defensive heroics from teenage centre Bren Sumner and the unrelenting work-rate of Matt Spencer. Alton weren't at all bad and there is plenty to come from this group of players.
Alleynians opened the scoring barely 90 seconds in when they worked the blindside and stocky, quick-stepping wing Paul O'Connor wriggled through a couple of ineffectual tackles. Alton retaliated immediately when Sam Rees caught the visitors cold with a quickly-taken penalty under the visitors' posts and flung the ball wide to Law, who sneaked over in the corner.
The visitors edged the opening half and they had shown their intent with a couple of blistering rolling mauls before they did finally find the tryline - skipper Jonny Wright rumbling over just after the half-hour mark.
Wright cut a formidable figure at the heart of the Alleynian pack and is was he who finished off another lengthy rolling maul straight after the break before flanker Ben Thomas touched down, again from a catch-and-drive, shortly after. Though full-back Mike Orr landed just one of his four shots of goal Alleynians were home and hosed at 22-5.
But in a second half of increasing ebb and flow, Alton bit back and began to throw some shapes.
However, a couple of sniping breaks by Rees and Spencer and a couple of abortive rolling mauls failed to deliver and Alleynians sealed it in injury time when Davey danced over from close range to get the party started.
Scoring: 0-7 O'Connor try, Orr conversion (2 mins); 5-7 Law try (7 mins); 5-12 Wright try (32 mins); 5-17 Wright try (42 mins); 5-22 Thomas try (48 mins); 5-27 Davey try (80+1 mins).
Referee: Wayne Morris (Hampshire Society).