Alton RFC 53 vs Ventnor RFC 22
By Steve Jenkins
Alton finish league season with a convincing win
This was Alton’s final league match of the season and although they had secured the Championship last Saturday they were determined to finish on a high. They were welcomed on to the pitch by a Guard of Honour formed by the Club’s Under 7 squad, and a much-appreciated round of applause from the visiting side.
By tradition Alton RFC hold a Reunion Lunch before the last home game of the season, this year it was one of the best attended in recent times, and the attendees swelled the numbers on the touchline looking to see if Alton could put “The Icing on the Cake” to complete an amazing league season, they did.
Kicking down the infamous Anstey Park slope they set about achieving their
target. Number 8 Ryan Capes started the ball rolling, on 8 minutes, when he picked up at the rear of the scrum to drive over, Joe Gwyther collected the further 2 points.
8 minutes later scrum-half George Pantrey drove his forwards towards the goal-line and picked exactly the right moment to pick up and dive over; 12-0. 5 minutes later Gwyther added a further 7 points following a mazy run to score a good solo try.
Immediately after Ventnor gifted Alton their bonus point try when the restart kick landed in winger Ryan Bales arms on the 10-metre line, he needed no encouragement to race down the touch unopposed and touched down under the posts to give Gwyther an easy kick; 26-0.
Ventnor came more in the game and kept Alton out for over 20 minutes, however Capes fed off a well-timed pass from Pantrey following forward pressure to collect his second try of the day which was converted; 33-0.
Just on half-time the visitors got a well-earned reward for their efforts when they scored a try through a good flowing move amongst their backs to take the score board to 33-5 at the break.
7 minutes into the new half Karter Whittock picked up the ball following a forward drive to race in unopposed, however the score was not converted. Ventnor struck back again with another backs’ try which was answered, again directly from the restart, by Harry Thomas. Ventnor scored again 9 minutes later followed by Alton’s Lewis Jones-Ayres. The pattern of Alton, Ventnor, Alton etc. was broken when Thomas called loudly for the ball to cross in the corner.
The last score came from the visitors who gained a well-earned bonus point with a converted try 4 minutes from the end.
Alton won Hampshire 1 scoring 85 league points, 9 ahead of 2nd placed Ellingham & Ringwood. In 18 games they only lost 1 and amassed 960 game points, an average of 53+ per game, ending with an amazing points difference of +725.
However, they have one more competitive match to play, when they contest the Final of the Hampshire RFU Plate next Saturday 13th April, away to Fareham Heathens, who finished 8th in the Hampshire Premiership, where Alton will play next season’s league rugby.
Fareham play at Cams Alders, Palmerston Drive, Fareham, PO14 1BJ; kick-off is at 14:30 hours. There is a bus leaving the club At 1230. Seats are still available, please contact Steve Jenkins for a seat at £10 per person