OVERTON RFC fielded their youngest first team for many years as they went down 18-17 to Alton in a Hampshire Two thriller.

Both teams observed a minute’s silence before the game in memory of Paul Cantoni the Alton Secretary.

A pulsating match saw both teams trade scores.

Overton looked more dangerous with the ball in hand, trying to spin it wide but a lack of cohesion in the backs produced lateral running with passes going behind the receiving player taking the sting out of the Overton attack.

Alton played the referee much more astutely that the Laverstoke Park outfit whose tally of 25 plus penalties was too much and ultimately there undoing.

Overton relied too much on Ryan Cornell and captain Tristian Harper as their primary ball carriers, whilst this duo made plenty of ground they became isolated and are much more effective as strike runners, this is something that coaches Jonty Spaul and JJ Inglis are stuck with until injured players are fit again.

Whilst the village second team are going well in the Solent Merit league there is a lack of strength in depth in certain positions which is currently giving selection headaches.

Overton were much better than in previous games since the new year and pressurised Alton in all aspects of the game, but the visitors defence was resolute and again a lack of composure allowed the visitors to strike back immediately following the home sides opening score from Dan Wright, this was a soft try to give away and just underlined Overton’s concentration levels.

The second period carried on with the home side pushing hard, forcing the Alton fly half to kick for territory, keeping the village side in the middle of the field, the visitors back row and front five worked hard to force turnovers and counter rucked well.

Alton played the referee well, listening and taking note, the home side struggled and continually infringed with the same offences, some of this was down to the inexperience of the young Overton side.

With five minutes to go Overton got in front with Tristian Harper touching down forward pressure told. Alex Plows added the conversion with help from the cross bar.

From the restart the home side lacked line speed allowing the visitors to press Overton back into their own half.

Here, yet again Overton gave a way pointless penalties that allowed the visitors a penalty and a five metre drive created panic in the home side and gave the visitors a score on the stroke of full time.

Overton seemed to try and sit back on their six point lead with three minutes to go, lacking the urgency displayed earlier in the game rather than rely on the defence tactics that had worked well all game.

The final kick went over to confine the village outfit to three losses from four since the new year.

The league position is very tight with four points now separating the top four, although Alresford are favourites to go up as they are two points ahead with a game in hand.

Next week, Overton seconds face local rivals Andover, the first team have another tough game away at fourth placed Fawley, before their cup semi-final against Hampshire One high flyers Petersfield on February 25.