It wasn’t their best performance but Alton U16’s continued where they left off last week. Despite some very blustery conditions and the odd shower, Alton gradually broke down a tiring New Milton team to emerge 39-24 victors, making it two from two in Div 1 of the Hampshire U16 league. New Milton must also be given credit as, due to injury and illness, they turned up to play with a bare 15 players, meaning they had no replacements for the entire game.
Alton started in typically brisk fashion with new “makeshift” winger Matthew Smoothy charging down the wing to score Alton’s first of the day, which was duly converted (7-0). Alton then seemed to take their collected foot off the gas, and some poor tackling quickly lead to New Milton racing under the posts for a converted score (7-7). In almost a repeat of their first try, New Milton added to their lead easing past a bewildered Alton midfield.
Alton then pulled together as a team and went on a 10 minute rampage in sight of the New Milton try line. First Hooker Ethan Long scored in the corner (12-14) before a few minutes later Josh Law scythed through the defence from close range, converting his own score (19-14) to end the half.
The second half started similarly to the first; Alton putting New Milton under pressure and when the visitors were penalised at a breakdown, Law converted the penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking over (22-14). With Alton’s forwards now becoming more dominant over their tiring opponents, Smoothy made another one of his infamous charging runs, running almost half the pitch, before drawing the last defender to give fellow wing, James Richardson and easy run into the corner.
With New Milton running out of puff and ideas, they took advantage of an Alton error by kicking a penalty to bring them within 10 points (27-17). However two quick tries, the first by Richardson again (32-17) and a wonderful solo try by newcomer Alf Basham (39-17) saw Alton’s lead grow to 22 points.
New Milton had the final word, scoring with the last phase of play, again brilliantly converted by their fly half to bring the final score to 39-24, a bonus point win for the Alton boys.
Alton take a break from League and cup action for a while but with some strong friendly fixtures coming up they must look at where they didn’t compete well in this fixture. But for now its two from two in the league and with the nearest rivals already played and beaten, Alton will be feeling confident moving into the next round of league fixtures.
Smoothy, Long, Law, Richardson x2, Basham
Law x 3
[With thanks to Sam Law for the match report]