Second Half Fight Back!
By Steve Carter
Alton U15s Recover from an 11 point deficit at half time to secure a 29 - 23 win over a very strong Winchester side
Alton's U15 boys, unbeaten so far this season in the league, faced a very strong Winchester 15 at Fortress Anstey this morning.
The Winchester players were well drilled and really took the game to Alton from the first whistle. With a majority of the possession and territory, it was not surprising to see Winchester put the first points on the board with a penalty kick. It would be Alton, however, who would be the first team to cross the whitewash with our hard working forwards creating good ball for the backs, who shifted the ball wide with full back Jonny Maddock offloading nicely out of contact to give Matthew Salisbury his first try of the day, with Gregory Carter converting. Matthew Salisbury's second try followed soon after, with good hands after a quickly taken penalty putting him over in the corner. However, Winchester responded well, and finished the first half the stronger of the two sides, scoring three tries of their own, with one conversion, as well as another penalty kick, to head into the break 23 - 12 up.
A determined Alton headed out for the second half, knowing that they had their work cut out if they were going to mount a come back. Alton started slowly again but then seemed to find another gear and began to show the intensity that they are known for. This intensity eventually paid off, with a penalty awarded on Winchester's 5 metre line being taken quickly by Gregory Carter who drove low under the defence and dotted the ball down with an outstretched arm. Continued pressure from Alton and some strong running soon led to Matthew Salisbury crossing the line again for his hat trick, converted from in front of the posts by Gregory Carter to take a 1 point lead into the last quarter of the match. Two equally determined sides battled out the remainder of the match and it looked like it could be anyone's game until Alton's forwards once more secured quick ball at the breakdown and the ball was shifted wide through the hands with Jonny Maddock scoring in the corner. Winchester fought to the end but despite some great play from the Winchester boys, Alton's defence held firm and our 17 unanswered points in the second half meant that Alton emerged 29 - 23 victors.
All credit to Winchester who pushed our boys as hard as they have been pushed by anyone this season and very well done to our boys for putting in a great shift in the second half to retain their unbeaten record in the league. A great game of rugby!