Alton Rugby Football Club

Rampant Alton Too Hot for Heathens

Sat 26 Sep 2009, 15:00

Fareham Heathens

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Rampant Alton Too Hot for Heathens

Alton make it three wins from three after crushing Heathens at Cams Alders.

Alton's fine start to the season continued after they cruised to a third straight Hampshire One victory with a comprehensive demolition of newly-promoted Fareham Heathens.

The facts pretty well tell the tale: seven tries and forty-three points, with Heathens failing to trouble the scorers.

But it is the latter statistic that will please Alton's players and management the most, albeit against a limited Heathens side that clearly lacked confidence and by the end was even struggling to keep its own players from setting upon each other.

Heathens are a much, much better side than this. They are notoriously hard to beat at their Cams Alders home and had won their previous two league encounters with Alton, but this time they were not at the party and were simply overwhelmed.

Most of the fireworks came in the opening quarter, in which time Alton stunned their hosts by crossing the line four times and racing into a 26-0 lead.

Three late tries put the icing on the cake and a smile on skipper Jimmy Gay's face as Alton take a week off before a tricky league assignment against unpredictable New Milton at Anstey Park on 10 October.

Most significantly, the three-quarters are starting to show a cutting-edge that was often absent last season. In Lei Alexander in particular, Alton appear to have found a young man who is starting to look the part in the number ten shirt.

Alexander's all-round game was excellent and he ran the show like a seasoned pro, although he was fortunate enough to have a pack in front of him that snarl and scrap like famished wolves.

Prominent amongst the forwards was Winston Carter - the ageless flanker's work-rate and speed about the park were eye-watering while at the other end of the age scale, Chris Cox's assured debut in the second half showed there is plenty to come from the fast-improving 19-year-old.

So, trebles all round for an efficient, busy Alton performance but there are far tougher challenges around the corner.

It was Carter who opened the scoring after just 120 seconds, dotting down after a relentless 30-metre rolling maul that must felt like a funeral cortege to the home supporters.

Alexander's fine touchline conversion was followed just three minutes later by Alton's second try which came about after a fine piece of improvisation by Hugh Flanagan.

Flanagan kicked through after the Heathens stand-off had spilled possession, and the big number eight then had the presence of mine to send a well weighted grubber into the path of centre, Richard Hemmens, who touched down easily.

Flanker Shane Watts broke from the side of a ruck, before bursting over for Alton's third and things got ever worse for Heathens in the 22nd minute when a cleverly worked set move in the backs gave Sam Law an easy run-in the right-corner. Alexander added two more conversions and Alton were totally in command at 26-0 with scarcely a quarter of the game gone.

Defiantly, the shell-shocked Heathens tried to bite back; they won some meaningful ball and working for territory through the pick-and-drive, but they struggled to create against a now hugely confident and well organised Alton defence.

It stayed 26-0 until a quarter-hour into the second half when Alton reawakened, Watts once again using his bulk and pace to charge through from a maul after excellent approach play from the backs.

Alton then ended with a flourish, first through an outrageous solo effort from hooker Luke Parratt, who gathered turnover ball from a Heathens ruck and sprinted a full 80 yards to score; then, seven minutes form the end wing Adam Gill slid over in the left-hand corner after another well-worked backs move gave him the opening.

Heathens were even denied a consolation try at the death when their number eight seemed certain to score, only to be hauled back from the line by an outrageous last-ditch tackle from makeshift flanker Steve Johns.

Johns' efforts ensured a clean sheet and a happy band of Altonians but tougher challenges lie in store.

Alton: Johns; O'Connor, Hemmens, Law, Gill; Alexander, Pead; Osborne (Collins, 65), Parratt, Gay (c); Ford (Greenhalgh, 60), Oliphant; Watts, Carter, Flanagan (Cox, 45).

Tries: Carter (2), Hemmens (6), Watts (13, 56), Law (22), Parratt (65), Gill (73);

Conversions: Alexander (4).

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