Alton 1st XV and 2nd XV both Win Overseas!
By Nigel Youell
The long day out proved worth it - well done to you all
For their first league match of the season Alton were faced with a round trip 120 miles, which included a 1-hour return ferry crossing. To minimise costs their 2nd XV away fixture in Hampshire 4 against Ventnor was brought forward a week. So 29 players left Alton at 10:30 a.m by coach, on Saturday for a long day out, it was to prove worth it.
Alton 1st XV found themselves playing a side that was more experienced, and physically bigger then them. However, undeterred, they took the game to the opposition and within 5 minutes they were awarded a penalty which Cameron Hamer converted; 0-3. This served to wake the home team up and using their well-built back line hammered the Alton defence. This held up well, although Alton were reduced to 14 men when Grant Alexander suffered a nasty looking knee injury. Eventually numbers prevailed and 16 minutes into the half Ventnor scored an unconverted try; 5-3. 4 minutes later Hamer put over another penalty; 5-6, and on 35 minutes Ventnor again broke through for an unconverted try; 10-6. Alton took exception at this and began to run at their opposite numbers, distributing the ball before the tackle, and eventually out pacing the home backs to put right wing Ryan Bale in on the stroke of half-time, Hamer converted taking the score to 10-13.
Ventnor closed the gap within 3 minutes of the re-start with a penalty, but the next 30 minutes of the half were all Alton’s. Outmanoeuvring, and out pacing, their opposition they ran in 4 further tries, 2 by Bale to give him his hat-trick, and 2 by Hamer, who converted all 4 to take his personal contribution for the day to 26; 10-41. In the last few minutes the effect of Alton’s effort began to show, and Ventnor helped themselves to 2 further converted tries, to earn a try bonus point and take the final score to 24-41.
A great effort by Alton considering their lack of numbers and they were delighted to learn that their 2nd XV had also won 26-28, despite finishing the match with only 13 on the pitch.
The quirks of the fixture list mean that Alton will face another Island team when they welcome Isle of Wight to Anstey Park next Saturday, 15th September. This match is a double header, the league fixture and the Quarter Final of the Hampshire Plate; kick-off is at 3:00 p.m.