BASINGSTOKE RFC Academy side were unable to break Alton 's unbeaten start to the season, as they lost narrowly away 20-17.

The hosts started strongly and when Stoke were reduced to 14 men they scored two quick tries on their way to a 17-0 advantage.

The visitors finally began to use their big carrying forwards, and a series of drives saw a quick ball sent out wide for full back Leon Williams to dive over the line, Joseph Campbell slotting the extras and making the score 17-7 at half time.

A couple of changes were made at the break and Dan Mairs finish off a good team move to go over into the corner.

Stoke now looked to push on and they began working a lot better at the breakdown, keeping hold of the ball and working some good phases of play.

Mairs picked up his second score of the game, Campbell narrowly missing a conversion.

Alton added a penalty and the final 10 minutes it was all Stoke, but the home side held on to win.

Stoke coach Steve Parker said: “It was difficult conditions today and I think we failed to adapt to that, Alton were very wily, playing to a well-structured game plan.

"Their backline was very good and they stretched our defence a lot, particularly when we were down to 14 men.

He added: "We were a lot better in the second half, using our big strike runners more effectively, gaining territory and we finished looking the stronger side.

"It’s a tough loss for the lads to take, but they will learn a lot from today and there was plenty of positives, the return match at home next year is going to be a good one.”