by Richard V Isaacs

Playing at the top level of the Hampshire RFU Colts League can be a daunting prospect but tell that to Alton A, who were promoted last season and opened their account in Division 1 with a crushing 38-5 win over fancied Winchester A.

On a soggy Anstey Park pitch, Louis Jones-Ayres flew in for two tries and was joined on the scoresheet by Oliver Fielder, Cameron Hamer and Samuel Brench as the ‘Black and Reds’ kept their A31 rivals at bay.

Hamer added four conversion and a penalty in the comfortable success with George Brown grabbing a second-half consolation for the visitors.

Promoted life wasn’t quite as easy for the other promoted side Tottonians, who came unstuck at Trojans, losing 21-7.

The home side eased into a 14-0 interval lead through Tom Knight Owen’s brace of tries and conversions before Dan White added a third after the break, Josh Gregory added the extras for the Stoneham Lane side.

It was just left for Charlie Forsyth to cross for Totts with Sasha Neate hitting the conversion to ensure they didn’t leave with nothing on the day.

Probably the game of the day came at Hooks Lane where reigning champions Havant edged out Basingstoke, courtesy of hitting one more conversion than their opponents.

Ben Sterling got Havant on the board early before Jonah North added a second on 20 minutes, only for Matt Mairs to grab Basingstoke’s first score before the break.

Mairs went over again to close the gap to two points but Oli McCormack and Will Owen crossed for the hosts following a lack of defending by the Amber and Blues.

The sides then exchanged scores with Dan Mairs sprinting down the wing from his own 22 to score for ‘Stoke only for Tom Mew to post Havant’s fifth try and open the lead once more.

Basingstoke were not done though and the latter Mairs was gifted a second try and when Havant were reduced to 14 men with a sinbinning, Leon Williams crossed and converted his own try but it was the lack of converting of the other four which ultimately cost the visitors, losing 29-27.

Just one game was played in Division 2 and it was another tale of a missed conversion that split the sides.

Newcomers Tadley Tigers got the better of hosts Gosport and Fareham 10-8 thanks to Vicente Bussak’s second half score, bettered by Charlie Lutterloch, who followed Reece Coker’s first-half penalty for the north Hampshire men.

That was in response to Ethan Carpenter’s opening score for Gos while Chris Cooledge hit a penalty but that missed conversion was to ultimately cost.

And down in Division 3, Winchester did come away from Anstey Park with some success as the respective B teams met and the visitors pulled a 38-19 win.

A hat-trick of tries from Jonathan Becker Davies wasn’t enough to bring a double success for Alton as Hugo Hughes (2) and singles from Joe Senyk, Henry Roberts, Will Thompson and Olly Ayres brought Winchester home comfortably.

James Pyke hit four conversions from five while Oscar Mosley slotted two for the hosts

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