Alton Rugby Football Club

Ruthless Alton Rout Heathens

Sat 27 Feb 2010, 14:30


72 - 0

Fareham Heathens

Rampant Alton return to clinical ways, scoring twelve tries and overwhelming struggling Fareham Heathens at Anstey Park.

Alton returned to the top of the Hampshire One pile after unleashing the forces of hell upon an under-strength Heathens at a boggy Anstey Park.

Twelve unanswered tries, including 46 second-half points, steamrollered struggling Heathens and provided a huge morale-boost to an Alton side which has been struggling to close out wins in recent weeks.

More encouragingly still, Alton played with far greater fluidity in their running game; slick inter-passing and more assured handling pointed to their imperious pre-Christmas form - and they managed to do all this despite playing in a quagmire.

Alton's quest for title honours has resembled a drunken lurch in recent weeks, but there were signs that the swagger is returning.

And with Petersfield's game against Aldershot a victim of the weather, Alton were able to restore their narrow two-point lead at the top. However, 'Field still enjoy a far superior points difference and Alton know that one slip-up in their four remaining matches will mean they will have to contest the promotion play-off rather than go up to the London leagues as of right.

For statistical anoraks, this was Alton's biggest league win since their 68-3 hammering of Askeans in 2000 and while the result does not change the complexion of the title race, the self-doubt that was creeping into Anstey Park has been banished for the time being.

It was a tough day for Heathens who have been improving of late but were undermined by a number of Twickenham-bound absentees - manfully as they performed, they were crushingly overwhelmed by an Alton side that was never really put under pressure.

Richard Hemmens opened the scoring after just eleven minutes, but the remainder of the opening period was the Will Ford show.

The giant number eight helped himself to a first half hat-trick as Alton overpowered Heathens at the scrummage. Ford eventually ended with a personal haul of 32 points.

If Alton struggled for first-half intensity, there were no such problems in the second as they ran in tries with monotonous regularity.

A brace from Stephen Osborne was added to by scores from wings Sam Law and Adam Gill; centre Stephen Johns capped a fine individual display with a 77th-minute score and there was also a welcome first league try for John Happel, a quiet, unsung hero of the front row for the past three seasons.

So it's job done for now. The season enters the home straight when second-to-bottom United Services visit Anstey Park this Saturday (3pm kick-off) and although Alton will be hot favourites, much depends on which Navy side turns up.

Alton: Forsyth; Law (Gill), Hemmens, Johns, O'Connor; Alexander, Collins; Happel, Parratt, Gay (c); Osborne, Greenhalgh (Oliphant); Cox (White), Carter, Ford.

Tries: Ford (14, 28, 35, 61), Hemmens (11), Osborne (43, 60), penalty (51), Law (56), Gill (66), Happel (73), Johns (77);
Conversions: Ford (6).

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