ALCESTER were awarded a bonus point victory when Saturday’s scheduled visitors Coventry Technical were unable to field a side to travel to Kings Coughton for their Midlands Five West (South) encounter.
The strugglers from Coventry, still without a victory this season, are desperately trying to keep a side together at the present time and had to concede a second game so far this season without taking the field.
The five points leave Alcester sitting third in the table with 15 points from four games.
Alcester are in Midlands Junior Vase round two action on Saturday (2.15pm). The Birmingham side lie in eighth place in their division – a level above Alcester in the league structure – and are sure to provide a stern test for the Kings Coughton men.
Alcester 2nds 22 Old Halesonians 4ths 24
WITH the 1sts out of action, Alcester 2nds took centre stage and narrowly failed to record a first win of the season as they were edged out by a strong visiting side from Hagley.
With captain Ben Lunnon unavailable, Josh Eborall stood in as skipper and there were plenty of positives in defeat for the home side, not least in the fact that having struggled to field a full fifteen on some weekends this season they were able to name a squad of 22 for this game, which included five of the Colts side who have now stepped up to play senior rugby.
One of the Colts, right wing Alex Chiles making his first senior start, was deservedly named as man of the match for a debut brace of tries as well as a brave defensive performance against bigger and much more experienced opponents.
Playing with the benefit of wind and slope in the first half, Alcester struggled to get into their stride and were a little disjointed with so many of their number playing rugby together for the first time.
Their young side was not helped when chairman and veteran number eight, Pete Goddard, was forced off in the first few minutes of the game with a knee injury. He was replaced at number eight by his son, Ed, who had started the game on the flank, with Darren Gwillym coming on as substitute, before he too was forced off with injury before half time.
The visitors, with former Alcester player Glen Marriott in their ranks, scored first when they took advantage of some slack home defence, before the home side hit back through Chiles’ first try after he had been fed by fellow Colt Goddard and showed very nimble feet to dance through several attempted tackles and sprint to the line.
The Kings Coughton men were dealt a further injury blow when another of their more experienced number, Rikki Bowers, was forced off with a knee injury. By now the visitors were back on top and nearly increased their lead when they got to the try line only, to be held up over it by determined home defence.
They did succeed in scoring again, however, when their pack shunted the home eight back over the line from a close range scrum for a 12-5 lead.
The entertaining and end-to-end nature of the match continued and the ever-dangerous Chiles was instrumental in pulling his back into the game again when he recovered a loose kick in midfield and raced into space before feeding fly half Glyn Smith who finished smartly.
The visitors refused to be pegged back, however, and they scored again to lead 19-10 at the break.
Alcester made changes at half time to give their full squad a run-out and the new-look line-up started the brightest in the second half, with Smith crossing for his second try in the opening exchanges.
The visitors had injury problems of their own, with Alcester veteran Jeff Williams making a cameo appearance for the Hagley side, before he was replaced by another home player, Jacob Turner, later in the game as the hosts lent players to keep the numbers even.
The Kings Coughton men were enjoying much the better of the start of the second half and they took the lead for the first time in the game through another brilliant finish from Chiles after the ball was fed to him in space and he outpaced his opposite number and the cover full back on his way to the line. Full back Ed Benskin converted this score.
The more experienced visitors kept the game tighter in the final quarter of the match and scored their fourth try, this time out wide, to reclaim the lead and Alcester were unable to carve out another opening in the final few minutes, despite their best efforts, and were forced to admit defeat.
This was another improved showing by Alcester’s 2nd XV and, if they can maintain this level of performance and keep the numbers of players available and fit, a run of better results is surely just around the corner.