Alton Rugby Football Club

Clinical Alton Ease Past New Milton

Sat 10 Oct 2009, 15:00


53 - 19

New Milton

Alton RFC

Alton maintain their perfect league record and top the Hampshire One table after a nine-try hammering of New Milton at Anstey Park.

Four wins out of four, 175 points and a residency of the top spot in Hampshire One: life is good in one small part of north-east Hampshire. As a start it will do very nicely.

Everyone at Anstey Park certainly seemed satisfied after the nine-try defeat of mercurial New Milton. Wing Matt O'Connor scored a hat-trick, the home side racked up a half-century of points and everything in the garden seemed rosy.

Yet the scoreline does New Milton no favours at all: they showed plenty of impressive darts, scoring three very good tries and playing some enterprising rugby in the process. Only a fortnight earlier the wildly inconsistent New Forest side had bludgeoned United Services with 60 points but pitted against Alton's in-your-face, relentlessly aggressive and well organised defence, they were unable to cope and repeatedly coughed up possession, often fatally.

In turn, Alton were, for the most part anyway, clinical, and played with pace, power and a think-outside-the-box mentality; and their backs in particular are carrying real menace.

In former Worthing centre Gareth Richards they have found a fine midfield organiser and an immensely powerful player who is also blessed with no little finesse. Shane Watts was again a snarling powerhouse in the back-row and he was a constant thorn in the New Foresters' side. Above all, it was a day when backs and forwards were singing from the same hymn-sheet - it was a fine 18-man effort.

For the nay-sayers, Alton's kicking game was patchy; on occasion they were slow to secure the ball at the rucks and consequently conceded a sprinkling of turnovers. Furthermore, they leaked couple of unnecessary second-half tries, and the discipline does need some work.

But for now, players and coaches can bask in a job well done. The temperature is set to rise this weekend, however, when Alton travel to Eastleigh to taken on the only other unbeaten side in Hampshire One.

Alton scored in the first and last minutes of the first half, and crossed three times in between to build a decisive 27-5 interval lead. They pressed from the off and Gareth Richards' huge pass created space for  fellow centre Richard Hemmens, who put O'Connor over for the opening score.

Matt Pead added a second from close range after Jimmy Gay and Matt Spencer forced New Milton to turn the ball over close to their line, following Pead's own box kick, and it was another defensive error that gifted Alton their third try, when Shane Watts rang a fine line onto an inside pass and cantered through to score.

Sam Law's conversion made it 17-0 after just 21 minutes but the visitors were on the scoresheet five minutes later when the full-back rounded off a fine backs move to score in the corner.

Normal service was resumed immediately afterwards, however, when Adam Baker and Pead worked the blindside to put O'Connor over, and Alton had their fifth try on the stroke the interval, a true forward effort that saw Will Ford plunge over from close range after a series a pick-and-gos.

O'Connor completed his hat-trick a minute into the second period when once again New Milton were forced into a fumble, the wing gathering and scampering under the posts.

At 34-5, New Milton appeared to be set for a hiding but they rallied well and crossed the line twice before tries from Winston Carter, Dan Forsyth and Spencer rounded off Alton's scoring to top the half-century take them to the top of the heap. Now they have to stay there.

Law; Spencer, Hemmens, Richards (Gill, 65), O'Connor; Forsyth, Pead; Happel, Parratt, Gay (c); Oliphant, Ford (Greenhalgh, 41); Watts, Carter, Baker (Cox, 55).

Tries: O’Connor (3, 27, 41) , Pead (16), Watts (21), Ford (39), Carter (54), Forsyth (60), Spencer (75);

Conversions: Law, Forsyth (3).

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