Dominant Alton RFC 1st XV go Top of the Table
By Steve Jenkins
An Impressive Tally of 18 Tries and 14 Conversions
As the result suggests Alton were totally dominant in this fixture, although they were made to work for every point they scored, 18 tries and 14 conversions.
Cameron Wicks was the first to sign on to the score sheet with an unconverted try, after number 8, Matt Sellstrom, picked up at the back of a scrum, fed George Pantry at 9, who popped the ball up to Wicks who chose a fine line of running.
5 minutes later winger Tom Burgess also benefited from Pantry when he made a superb back-flip pass. Joe Gwyther added the extra 2 points.
Ryan Bale was the next to make an impression when he made a jinking run, interchanging passes with other players for half the length of the pitch to put centre Oli Fielder in for another converted try.
Bale was rewarded with the next try, again converted by Gwyther.
The forwards decided it was their turn and second row Chris Gregory used his, not unsubstantial, bulk to force his way over giving Gwyther another opportunity to add 2 points.
Hooker, Luke Parratt, then finished off another move, typical of the handling skills and the good support running shown by all the whole team, all afternoon. With the conversion Alton now led 40-0 with just 30 minutes gone.
A penalty kick by Trojans failed to find touch and Bale went off on one of his runs feeding Burgess to claim his second of the afternoon.
The forwards took their turn when Sellstrom touched down following a well-controlled drive from a lineout. Another break by Sellstrom led to Burgess claiming his hat-trick. Gwyther converted this one to take the half-time score to 57-0.
The first 10 or so minutes of the second half were, when compared to the first, very quiet, until Gregory set off on a solo charge from the half-way line. He out sprinted all to score his second try. Sellstrom followed his example moments later when he scored off the back of a scrum.
Another fine break by Bale led to Parratt’s second touch-down, which was followed by Fielder’s second, resulting from some excellent re-cycling after a move broke down. Tom Burgess picked up his fourth try of the match before prop Nick Stoffel scored from a line-out.
The next try came from Burgess (his 5th). From the re-start, man of the match, Chris Gregory charged off again to set up a ruck, his fellow second row, Tom Smethurst, finished the move with yet another try. The final score came from the kick-off when the forwards forced their way upfield, flanker Karter Whitlock touching down. Gwyther, with his new set of boots, a Christmas present, converted 8 of the 9 second half tries to add to the 6 he had kicked in the first half. FT 118-0
Alton are still tied with Farnborough RFC at the top of Hampshire 1 on 60 league points. However, the results last Saturday went Alton’s way. Farnborough overcame Overton 34-24, which means that although they gained a try bonus points, they now trail Alton by 99 game points.
A great start for Alton to 2019, but they must regain their composure because next Saturday 12th January, they visit 3rd placed Locksheath Pumas for a double header, the second league meeting between the teams, and the semi-final of the Hampshire Plate. Locksheath play at Brookfield School SO31 7DU, kick-off is yet to be confirmed. As soon as it is known it will be shown on Alton’s web site; www.altonrfc.club