Atherstone 23 Alcester 17
Warwickshire Shield first round
ALCESTER exited the Warwickshire Shield at their first hurdle on Saturday, but only after running the men from the north of the county very close with a spirited late fightback.
The trip to these opponents has been notoriously a tough one for Alcester over the years and last year Atherstone were one of the better sides in Midlands Four West (South) – a division that Alcester are hoping to return to at the first attempt when their league campaign begins later this month.
The first half was an even affair, with the sides separated by a late home try during the period in which the visitors’ prop Jason Richings was in the sin-bin, after being unluckily singled out for an infringement at a ruck.
With their forwards achieving parity at the scrum, but having the better of things at the lineout, the visitors hit back through skipper Jack Green who crossed for the equalising try.
The home side upped their efforts and raced into a 20-5 lead through two tries, one conversion and a penalty, but there was a plucky nature to Alcester’s play today and they refused to be overrun and took the game back to their hosts.
Hooker Harry Abell followed up the previous week’s impressive debut with another good performance and a try before wing Stuart Whitehead’s try and a Ben Hope conversion brought the visitors back within three points.
A further yellow card was to prove costly for Alcester, as this time flanker Josh Eborall was sent to the bin, and from the resulting penalty kick at goal Atherstone sealed the win and progression to the next round.
Full back Joey Cull was named man of the match for Alcester, although the day was not as good for his fellow back Ed Benskin, who suffered a broken hand during the game and will be out of action for a while. All at the club wish him a speedy recovery and return to action.
Coventrians 2nds 43 Alcester 2nds 7
ALCESTER’S young 2nd XV succumbed to their much more experienced and powerful opponents, although the final scoreline was harsh on the visitors, whose tiring legs were punished by the home side’s ability to utilise their big squad and roll on substitutes – particularly near the end of the game – when the Coventry side ran in three late tries.
The visitors gave senior debuts to Colts Jasper Foster, Ben Godson, Josh Godson and Sam Smith and it was the latter who set up his side’s only score with a good run and pass to skipper Ben Lunnon who crashed over. Paul Taylor converted.
Prop Carl Plantham was voted man of the match.
On Saturday Alcester 1sts play host to Evesham 2nds in a 3pm kick-off. At the same time Alcester 2nds visit Evesham 3rds and on Sunday (11am) Alcester Colts are a home to Eccleshall.