Alcester 39 Coventry Welsh 32
Midlands Four West (South)
ON THE day of their president Andy Miller’s annual lunch, Alcester recovered from an early 19-0 deficit to emerge as winners of a thoroughly entertaining and high-scoring game against high-flying Coventry Welsh.
The experienced visiting side, featuring a core of players who have been the nucleus of their team for more than ten years, claimed the early ascendancy and went in front on 11 minutes when their pack drove over the line from a maul and their kicker added the extras.
Without really getting their own game going, Alcester still managed to fashion an opportunity of their own when Scott Carmichael forced his way over the line but was held up.
The visitors took full advantage and increased their lead through a second try thanks to some uncharacteristically sloppy defence out wide by the home side.
When Coventry Welsh scored a third try, which for Alcester was another soft one to give away to slip 19 points down, it looked like to might be a long afternoon for the home side.
However, coach Keith Beech made some personnel and positional changes which sparked his side back into life and lock Louis Smith reduced the deficit with his side’s first score.
Centre Jamie Harland then doubled his side’s try count to put Alcester firmly back in the game at 19-10 down at half time.
In the second half the visitors were first to add more points with a penalty before the Kings Coughton men responded when Carmichael – now playing at full back after the introduction of Josh O’Connor at fly half – crossed for his side’s third try which Ben Hope converted.
O’Connor had a spell in the sin-bin for an infringement at a tackle situation and from the resulting penalty the Coventry side extended their lead to 25-17.
Undeterred, Alcester continued to take the game to their visitors in a much better second half showing and wing Luke Spencer scored his side’s fourth and bonus point try to reduce the deficit.
Now well into the final quarter of the game, the visitors looked to have killed the game off when their always dangerous pack crossed from another driving maul out wide for a try superbly converted by their kicker from a very difficult angle.
However, although they were now ten points behind, Alcester remained the team on top.
Despite the clock running down, when Carmichael bulldozed his way over for his second try belief returned to the home side that they could force their way back into the game, particularly when they were restored to full numbers with the return of O’Connor from the sin-bin and the visitors lost a player of their own to a yellow card.
It was the returning O’Connor who scored the try to give his side the lead for the first time with a strong finish under pressure from several defenders before in the final stages of the game Lewis Walker raced clear to seal victory with his side’s seventh try.
This was a superb win for Alcester, their third successive victory, which leaves them sixth and just five points off top spot as they make the trip to Harbury on Saturday.
The Warwickshire villagers, who were relegated from the division above at the end of last season, lie one place and one point above Alcester having played a game more.
ALCESTER 2nds travelled to support Shottery, who took on Leamington 3rds at Moorfields.
The scheme of local clubs helping each other out with numbers really seems to be working, with Alcester having benefited on a number of occasions this season, which keeps players playing rugby.
The home side were comfortable winners in the end, but Alcester’s Rup Daffern had a good game and provided the assist for one of his side’s two scores.
ALCESTER U13s took full advantage of centre stage at Kings Coughton as they recorded a 40-10 victory over Woodrush.
In the early stages a second win of the campaign looked unlikely for Alcester as their Wythall-based visitors raced into a two-try lead with long range finishes from two powerful runners.
However, captained by Will Harris, Alcester got their game going and battled back with three tries before half time and in the second half they scored five unanswered tries.
The scores came from Ryan Streete, Joe Ward, Felix Slaughter, Harris, Josh Owen and Henry Willison. Man of the match was awarded to Slaughter who demonstrated strong kicking and tactical play.