ALLOA RFC’S 2022-23 season kicked off on Saturday as they defeated Panmure 56-3 at Earlsfield for the first league encounter of the campaign.

Panmure looked to have the upper hand in the opening minutes of the game and it was against the run of play that Marc Murray made a lovely break from inside his 22, releasing Matt Pope who stormed over the score line from halfway.

Unfortunately for Murray the big Alloa winger pulled a hamstring in the process and spent the rest of the afternoon watching from the sideline.

Two minutes later Pope was at it again with another powerful weaving run from halfway to score his second of an eventual tally of four for the on form flanker.

Alloa’s third came 35 minutes in, from a scrappy Panmure line out. Alloa captain Gary Taylor secured for the backs to move the ball wide with replacement winger Luke Allan going over in the corner.

Panmure pulled back three points when the Alloa defence were caught offside but by this stage the home side were starting to look in control.

A couple of changes in the pack had reversed the dominance in the set scrum and it was now the Panmure forwards feeling the pressure.

Alloa stand off Chris Aitken was next to go over with a crash ball from a scrum 10 yards out in front of the posts.

With Alloa leading by a score of 22-3 at half-time, they continued their dominance earlier in the second half.

Eight minutes into the restart and Pope bagged his third after some great hands from another stolen scrum.

Chris Aitken got his second after the forwards showed they could handle too. Some nice work from Pope and replacement hooker Dale Foster eventually saw Aitken go over in the corner.

Alloa’s seventh try was arguably the score of the afternoon. Martin McKenzie set off from a set piece inside his own 22 with a darting run. The scrum half put a lovely chip up the touchline, recovered the ball on the bounce and released young second row Robbie Warnock who took his score well.

Another Alloa youngster, winger Callum McAllister, took the penultimate score after more great hands from a side now full of confidence.

It was that man Pope again who took the final score securing a well-deserved man of the match performance.

Alan Keir’s kicking rate of two from nine reflected the breezy conditions and expansive nature of the game.

The players and coaches should be extremely pleased with this result and will be the perfect confidence booster ahead of this weekend’s trip to Dundee to face Harris.