It has been a tough start to the season for Alton Silverbacks, but although they were beaten 34-5 by Trojans at Anstey Park this was a much-improved Alton performance.

The margin of victory slightly flattered their opponents in a game that was competitive throughout, but in the end Trojans just possessed more offensive guile and ran out convincing winners with some late tries to move them into the top half of Hampshire Counties One.

The home side looked solid on paper and started brightly, with Trojans resorting to a kicking game early on. Impressive full-back Liam Ray was collecting well and running the ball back with confidence.

Inside the first few minutes they were a player up as well, as Ed Thomas was deliberately taken out after chipping neatly over the oncoming Trojans defensive line.

A yellow card was inevitable, and Alton dominated the possession in the first 15 minutes. But with Trojans back to full strength, and with Alton failing to clear on a couple of occasions, it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the corner after their first sequence of pressure on 16 minutes.

In the set piece it was an even affair, with the Alton pack more than holding their own in the scrum and lineout, and in loose play the likes of Oli Hunt and Jez Powell continually denied Trojans quick ball at the ruck.

However, some quick thinking from Trojans stretched the lead to 12-0 as they ran in almost unopposed as Alton’s defence was still retiring after an offside in midfield.

A few minutes later a bemused Cam Hamer was yellow carded after a collision in midfield, and Alton were now looking to hang on until half-time.

But in truth they coped comfortably, with Adam Hall leading the line. Hall intercepted on halfway but ran out of support, and the score remained 12-0 at half-time.

Trojans kept the scoreboard ticking over with an early second half penalty, and this meant that Alton were now forced to kick to the comer even when presented with penalty opportunities.

They nearly opened their scoring with a rolling maul but were stopped just short, and whenever Cam Wheatcroft had an opportunity he made good ground with some muscular carries.

But his Trojans counterpart on the left wing was equally difficult to put down and scored again after a mazy run.

Trojans gradually started to impose themselves on the game, with their half-back pairing beginning to find spaces in the tiring Alton defensive line. Two further tries followed and they had secured their bonus point try.

With the last play of the game, spirited Alton were rewarded with some deserved consolation as Thomas deftly kicked through and captain Karter Whittock was able to get his fingertips to the ball to score and make it 32-5.

This was much better overall from Alton, who were gritty and determined all afternoon.

With the Alton Blackbacks winning again, 25-7 against Farnham’s fourth XV, there may be a little more optimism at Anstey Park for the remainder of the season.