Winchester 2s 0-31 Basingstoke RFC

A DOMINANT Basingstoke RFC side made it back-to-back wins to claim a bonus point victory, this time on the road at Winchester RFC 2s.

Five tries, saw the visitors claim a convincing victory on a bright and breezy afternoon down south to climb back up to 2nd in Hampshire 2.

The game began with the home side using the wind advantage to put ‘Stoke under pressure with a sustained spell of possession inside the visitors 22’. Whilst the hosts, who initially appeared to have an advantage up front continued to bash at the ‘Stoke door it wasn’t to be breached and this strong defence was soon rewarded as turnover ball saw Tom Jeffery able to break through a gap left by the home side and allow ‘Stoke some ball of their own at the right end of the pitch.

The opening score came shortly after the 20-minute mark as some strong work by the forwards at scrum time saw Centre Alfie Rowley finish off a backline move which saw Tom Jeffery, again, initially able to break through the Winchester back line before being stopped. Rowley eventually fighting off the pursuing Winchester tacklers was able to give ‘Stoke a well-deserved lead, scoring under the posts. Sam Clark on kicking duty for the afternoon, was able to add the extras.

A 2nd try followed very soon after the restart as Simon Appleby was left to head off on one of his many rampaging runs, leaving Winchester defenders sprawled across the pitch in his wake, the ball eventually finding its way across to Brad Titcombe with most of Hampshire to run into and finish in the corner leaving ‘Stoke 12-0 ahead just after the 25-minute mark.

An enforced injury substitution meant a reshuffle along a versatile back line for ‘Stoke, however, as on previous occasions this season, minimal disruption appeared to be caused as the dominance continued and the visitors were breaking the line seemingly at will. But for a few last-ditch tackles by the home side, ‘Stoke could well have wrapped the game up inside the opening half. Despite the sustained pressure the half ended 12-0.

The 2nd half followed a similar pattern to the first, ‘Stoke continuing to find holes in the Winchester defence and a 3rd try was to come soon after the restart. A chip downfield from Titcombe saw the home side scrambling to claim the ball and good pressure saw them unable to clear their lines. Stephen Ansell the recipient as Winchester coughed up the ball just short of their own try line allowing Ansell to flop over the line to put ‘Stoke well in command. The Bonus point try was secured just a couple of minutes later, Simon Appleby rambling his way through the Winchester defence, eventually diving over beside the posts to secure the try bonus. Sam Clark again adding extras and ‘Stoke had themselves a commanding 26-0 advantage with a little over half an hour to play.

Unsurprisingly, the remainder of the game became scrappy, with the home side doing whatever they could to prevent any further scores and earn themselves some sort of reward on a difficult afternoon. Despite the occasional line break and a few dark arts by the hosts going unnoticed, ‘Stoke were able to keep the visitors pointless.  

Jake Jagged ended the scoring on an elongated afternoon, sprinting clear with Luke Wareham as they were able to combine to score the visitors 5th and final try of the afternoon. Again, more loose play from Winchester in their own 22’ causing themselves all sorts of problems and the visitors were able to capitalise as Jake Jagged finished off a comfortable afternoon for ‘Stoke. Despite the kick for the extra points being unsuccessful the referee ended what had been another dominant afternoon for ‘Stoke shortly after the restart meaning they claimed their first shut out of the season, 31-0.

Tries - Alfie Rowley, Brad Titcombe, Stephen Ansell, Simon Appleby and Jake Jagged.

Conversions - Sam Clark x 3.