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HAMPSHIRE RFU COLTS LEAGUE REPORT
by Richard V Isaacs

Is there no stopping Alton from their march at the top of the Hampshire RFU Colts League Division 1?

The north Hampshire side, who were only promoted from Division 2 last season, have reached the half-way point of the season with the perfect five wins from five following a hard-fought 17-5 success over Winchester.

They have opened up a nine-point cushion at the top after Daniel Androuliakos and Oliver Burden crossed in the first half at North Walls and Cameron Hamer added a converted try in response to Hugo Hughes’ solitary second period score for the hosts.

Alton are well clear of Trojans, who kept up their challenge with a tough 15-10 success at winless Tottonians, although the home side once again claimed a battling first bonus point of the season.

Will Butterwick and Ben Salisbury went over for the Stoneham Lane side while Sacha Neate cracked a penalty for the home team but they had to withstand a late surge as Leo Tongue crossed for Totts before Sam Walker made sure of the victory for Trojans to stay second.

It is very tight at the top of Division 2 as Andover and Tadley Tigers are locked on 24 points after matching each other with significant victories.

The All Blacks swept aside mid-table Farnborough’s challenge, scoring seven tries in a 46-15 win while Tadley lifted themselves to a 25-5 triumph over struggling Fordingbridge.

Andover had already eased to an 18-0 half-time lead with Nick Baughen, Sam Sears and Gabe Williams going over and added another four scores in the second period through Baughen’s second, Jack Cooper, Elliott Knights and John Hair.

Alex Hankins’ double and Ian Wells put Farnborough on the board with tries but with Harrison Pape (2 conversions) and Ioan Gwynne Davies (2 conversions and a penalty) in fine kicking form, Andover took all five points.

Newcomers Tadley Tigers are hot on their heels as George Malone, Reece Coker, Vicente Budsati Capdeville and Josh Hall all posted tries to seal a vital bonus point in their success over the New Foresters.

Charlie Lutterloch hit a penalty and a conversion to complete the scoring with only Sam Knight’s try in reply for Fordingbridge.

Keeping up the pressure are both Petersfield and unbeaten New Milton and District, who have only played three games to date.

‘Field sit six points behind the leaders after a nail-biting 14-13 win over lowly Portsmouth, much of which was down to the kicking of three penalties from Seb Kay in the awful conditions.

Joe Thompson’s first half penalty for Portsmouth was cancelled out by Rob Wands’ try but Sam Ollie went over twice for the home side to set up a grandstand finish but it wasn’t quite enough.

New Milton are three wins from three so far and secured another bonus point victory with their win over Portsmouth 22-7 the week before.

The home sides’ George Shortland’s try was the only score in the first half but Harry Willis-Finn, George Hughes and Kalle Evans all went over to stretch their lead which Zachary Clow narrowed with Portsmouth’s only try, improved by Joe Thompson.

In the mid-table mud battle at Farnborough, the home side came out 10-3 to the good over bottom side Ellingham and Ringwood, who take a point from the match.

Ollie Pople’s opening try for the hosts gave them a 5-3 interval lead – Will Jenkins slotting the penalty for the visitors.  But when Dennis Lee crossed late in the second half, the damage was done.

A heavily reduced Division 3 is currently topped by Eastleigh, who recorded an impressive 32-12 victory over neighbours Winchester B while Vectis also took the North Walls sides scalp last Sunday with a narrow 7-5 triumph at Sandown and Shanklin.

Eastleigh lead the table by four points from their Island rivals after their six-try win, led by Luke Spring’s double and other scores from Paul Hodgeson, Michael Longyear, Jamie Strangeway and Jack Ryan, only one of which Aaron Barnes improved.

The home side responded with scores either side of the break from Archie Millar and Dane Hughes and Jesso Ribeiro’s conversion.

But it was a missed kick that was to ultimately cost them a share of the spoils on an atrocious day on the Isle of Wight.

There was no score at all in the first half as the sides came to terms with the sticky conditions but Luke Widdekop’s try for Vectis and Richard Pitman’s conversion opened up a lead that Hugo Hughes reduced with a try only to see the conversion missed and a chance taking more than a single point.

HAMPSHIRE RFU COLTS LEAGUE TABLE (to 15 January 2017)

DIVISION 1 P W D L F A PD Pts
Alton A 5 5 0 0 135 67 68 23
Trojans 4 3 0 1 81 48 33 14
Basingstoke 4 2 0 2 95 80 15 12
Havant 5 2 0 3 108 119 -11 11
Winchester A 4 2 0 2 56 68 -12 9
Tottonians 6 0 0 6 58 151 -93 1
                 
                 
DIVISION 2 P W D L F A PD Pts
Andover 5 5 0 0 173 47 126 24
Tadley Tigers 6 5 0 1 123 46 77 24
Petersfield 5 4 0 1 121 114 7 18
New Milton and District 3 3 0 0 106 21 85 15
Farnborough 5 2 0 3 60 114 -54 9
Gosport and Fareham 4 1 0 3 78 73 5 6
Fordingbridge 4 1 0 3 69 119 -50 5
Portsmouth 7 0 1 6 61 152 -91 4
Ellingham and Ringwood 5 0 1 4 31 136 -105 3
                 
                 
DIVISION 3 P W D L F A PD Pts
Eastleigh 4 3 0 1 122 70 52 15
Vectis 4 2 0 2 63 98 -35 11
Winchester B 4 2 0 2 81 72 9 10
Basingstoke B 3 1 0 2 55 65 -10 6
Alton B 3 1 0 2 72 88 -16 6

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