Top of Table Clash
By Steve Jenkins
Battle of top 2 Hampshire 1 teams
Rugby Match Report
Farnborough RFC 43 vs. Alton RFC 24
As last week this was again a top of the table clash, both teams were on 20 points, Alton 4 bonus point wins, Farnborough 3 bonus point wins and credited with a walkover (worth 5 points). This promised to be a very close and hotly contested match, and so it proved, with victory for Farnborough in doubt until the last 5 minutes.
Both teams had to cope with the rare, for this season so far, continual rain. Any nervousness Farnborough may have had was eased when James Windle took the first points with a penalty in front of the posts after six minutes; 3-0.
Alton fought back, keeping the ball in Farnborough’s 22, eventually scoring a try through Mike Woolley, which stand-off Joe Gwyther duly converted to take the score to 3-7.
10 minutes later Farnborough’s Carl Clements popped out from a scrum to score. Windle had an easy conversion and reset the score to 10-7.
Almost immediately Alton were back in front when their pack drove 2nd row Jon Crothers over. This time the conversion was missed, 10-12.
Farnborough replied with a converted try when Jay Miller dodged and weaved in from 25 metres to score. Miller would score again straight after a scrum just four minutes later, although Windle missed this time the score was now at 22-12, at half time.
Soon after the restart, Farnborough scored another converted try, this time through Alex Stewart who went over in the left-hand corner, 29-12.
Within 3 minutes Alton closed the gap with an unconverted try by Gwyther, 29-17
Alton now pressurised the home defence and may well have scored again both an intercepted pass meant they missed the opportunity.
Following this misfortune Farnborough took advantage when Nathan Carter dodged a last-ditch tackle to pop over the line, try converted by Windle, 36-17. with a clinical, planned finish.
Alton did not give up and with 16 minutes to go, they claimed their bonus point try when hooker Luke Parratt touched down, 36-24.
A succession of penalties in Farnborough’s 22 gave the visitors hope and put Farnborough’s nerves on edge. Unfortunately, Farnborough’s captain, Lee Kirkham intercepted an Alton pass on the cusp of full time and raced to the line to put the ball down behind the posts, with Windle taking the last move of the match through the posts to convert.
A final score of 43-24 which some would argue somewhat flattered the home side but with Farnborough now four points clear, Alton will look forward to the return fixture at the end of January when they will have the opportunity to redress the balance.
Next Saturday Alton look forward to welcoming old friends, and rivals, Haslemere, to Anstey Park when they meet in the London & South-East Region Junior Vase cup competition. Kick-off is at 3:00 p.m.