Alton Silverbacks dropped back into the bottom two of the Hampshire Premier after going down to a determined Bournemouth II team, who eased their own relegation concerns in the process.

It now seems likely that any one from a total of five teams will be relegated alongside Basingstoke. 

Alton face the daunting task of playing away against high-flying Winchester next week, but then follow that with two home fixtures against Portsmouth and Trojans, who sit just above them in the league.

After sustaining four key injuries last weekend, Alton were forced into some changes with their replacements playing in unfamiliar positions, but they did at least welcome the return of George Lucas and Luke Harriss.

Aided by the conditions, Bournemouth immediately capitalised on a knock on in midfield and scored after three minutes in the right corner, which was well converted.

The conditions may not have helped either team, but this was a stop-start affair.

Bournemouth were the beneficiaries as their scrum was dominant, even though  Alton began to dominate territory in the first 15 minutes.

A Bournemouth player rushed a Lewis New penalty and was penalised ten metres for his lack of rugby knowledge, but the chance was missed. 

A fine reverse pass by Joe Gwyther carved a gaping hole in the Bournemouth defence and it fooled everyone, including the apologetic official, as Lucas charged him over. 

Bournemouth’s throwing inaccuracy gave Oliver Hunt a couple of wins at the back of the lineout and Trethewey was doing well under pressure at the back of the retreating scrum, but gradually the home side grew into the game and extended their lead to 10-0 with a penalty kick in front of the posts.

Gwyther kicked deep into the corner as Alton looked to end the half strongly and Trethewey was stopped just short with a last-ditch tackle, but chances were few and it was a disjointed first-half performance from both sides.

Adam Hall came on to bolster the scrum as Alton sought to start the second half strongly. 

Bournemouth immediately gave them good field possession after trying to run the ball from deep inside their own 22 and immediately knocked on from the kick off.

The lively George Pantrey took a quick penalty and the home side were then warned for not retreating ten metres, but Alton could not register a score in the opening seven minutes which may have turned the game.

In a match that was largely played in good spirits, Harriss took exception to a Bournemouth player after he was penalised for holding on in the tackle, and both players were given a yellow card.

With both sides fielding 14 players, spaces began to open in midfield as the Bournemouth fly half and centres ran the ball back purposefully, picking off forwards in a disjointed line, and they extended their lead through a penalty and then a further try to score under the posts.

Bournemouth were now playing with confidence and they scored a fine try after their number eight kicked over the onrushing defence and collected perfectly. 

That took the score to 25-0 with 15 minutes remaining.

However, the undeterred Alton players responded bravely, with both James Rayner and Trethewey going close and then Pantrey’s quick thinking, again from a penalty around eight metres out, provided some solace for those who made the trip from Anstey Park.

Another quickly-taken penalty by Adam Hall caused more panic in the home defence and this time Harriss dived over to make the final score 25-14. 

Gary Brench