‘Nice trophy in the cabinet!’ Hampshire plate success provides plenty of joy for Fareham Heathens
Fareham Heathens came out on top in a close-fought encounter against Alton at Cams Alders to lift the Hampshire plate for the third time in five years.
Player-coach Dave Wheaton admitted his side had to work hard for their 29-24 win against a team who have been promoted up to their Hampshire premier level.
But it was another big day for the club and an occasion to celebrate.
He said: ‘ It was a great day of rugby. Alton are a very good side and I can see them causing some concerns next season in the Hampshire premier.
‘'We have struggled at times this season with injuries and availability, but I’m so pleased for the lads to get the win.
‘It has been a tough season, but this is a great way to end with, a nice piece of silverware for the trophy cabinet.’
Heathens shot out the blocks and soon scored to take an early lead.
Alton replied with some great attacking play which put the hosts under pressure and tested their defence. Heathens managed to score a second time to increase the lead to 10-0, and then the game changed.
Alton with some very clever driving maul work powered over the line for a converted try and added a penalty to level matters at ten points apiece. After further pressure Alton grabbed an interception try before Heathens squared things up again in the last minute of the half.
Heathens found themselves having to come from behind again in the second half after Alton opened up a 24-17 lead.
Pressure was on Heathens but they regrouped showing real character to score two more tries and squeeze home five minutes from the end. Captain Harry King said: ‘I think the nerves of the day got to some of the players.
‘We took a while to settle into our patterns of play, and Alton certainly put the pressure on us all day.
‘But it was ours in the end after a great all round performance from the lads.’
King produced a stand-out performance leading from the front with maturity and control.
James Whitefield, with some powerful running lines and strong tackling, and Dan Lee, who at scrum half controlled the forwards well all day, also stood out.