Alton 21 Basingstoke 30: Despite the result, this was by far the Silverbacks’ best performance of the season.

Selection problems continued and it showed in a number of handling and positional errors, but the players could not be faulted for effort or commitment, even during a heavy squall and rainstorm late in the first half.

Alton had the best possible start when left winger Rufus Dent touched down to finish off an aggressive total team effort just one minute after kick-off.

The conversion was missed.

Basingstoke went on the offence, but Alton’s defence held firm until they gave away a kickable penalty on eight minutes which cut their lead to 5-3.

The two teams battled for the next 25 minutes or so with neither side being able to penetrate the other team’s defence until the visitors crossed for a converted try on 35 minutes.

Alton attacked from the restart and were immediately rewarded with a penalty kicked by Joe Gwyther.

Unfortunately, they conceded a second converted try immediately afterwards.

At half-time the score was 17-8 and the first ten minutes of the second half were Basingstoke’s, during which they added a third converted try, and a penalty to edge 27-8 ahead.

On 69 minutes Alton’s prop Matt Chapman, playing his first game of the season, touched down close to the posts, and Gwyther converted.

He soon followed this with a penalty and at 27-21 in arrears, Alton had put themselves in line for a losing bonus point.

Unfortunately, they conceded a kickable penalty just before the final whistle which took the final score to 21-30.

But it was by far Alton’s best performance of the season and they will be thinking this Saturday’s Hampshire One Counties away game at old rivals Petersfield could be winnable.