Although the Silverbacks maintained their unbeaten record, and gained a try bonus point, this was a somewhat disjointed performance. In fact, the first score came from the home side after about 8 minutes, when they pinned Alton down on their own line, although the visitors did recover the ball they immediately dropped it. Eastleigh quickly moved it out to the left and scored; 5-0.
The Silverbacks gathered themselves and responded. A maul was illegally pulled down and a lineout resulted from the penalty. Eastleigh again transgressed, Alton reset the line and a forward drive gave their hooker, Karter Whitlock, the opportunity to score an unconverted try; 5-5.
Alton maintained their pressure, but it took another 15 minutes before they were rewarded. They were held up short of the line, scrum-half Mark Crowther found centre Edward Pasfield coming in a superb line, he scored under the posts giving Cameron Wicks an easy conversion; 5-12.
Immediately from the restart the Silverbacks recovered the ball which was fed to outside centre Oliver Burden who sprinted the length of the field to score, again below the posts, Wicks converted; 5-19.
Eastleigh retaliated just before ½ time when a quickly taken penalty found Alton unprepared and the score became; 10-19.
Early into the second half Eastleigh infringed at the maul and Wicks raised the score-line to 10-22, 6 minutes later the home side scored off a line-out to raise their tally to 3 tries; 15-22.
A good clean passing move then released flanker Jez Powell, who scampered over half the length of the field to set up Wick’s 3rd conversion; 15-29. Powell was immediately substituted for a well-earned rest!
The last quarter of the match was somewhat scrappy with Alton, unusually for them, querying the referee’s decisions, this resulted in 2 yellow cards, fortunately some 14 minutes apart but Eastleigh took advantage of the in-balance in numbers to score a 4th and bonus point try, which was converted; 22-29. They also gained a bonus point for being within 7 points of the Silverbacks at the final whistle.
Next Saturday the Silverbacks welcome Fareham Heathens, who narrowly beat Alton in last season’s Hampshire Plate Final. Kick-off is at 3 p.m. in Anstey Park.