Alcester 10 Claverdon 21
Midlands Four West (South)
ALCESTER’S VPs Day was overshadowed as county rivals Claverdon took the derby day spoils in a tense but surprisingly low key game at Kings Coughton on Saturday.
The match had little of the intensity that games between these two old rivals often feature, perhaps partly due to the fact Alcester were forced to field a makeshift back line due to several regulars being injured or unavailable.
Amongst the changes was skipper Jack Green slotting in at fly half and, whilst he turned in a man of the match display for the home side, Alcester missed his powerful direct running from his usual position at centre.
The visitors went in front inside ten minutes from a well struck penalty kick from James Williams, before they crossed for the first of their two tries with a quarter of the game gone following a fluent back line move from clean scrum ball, which resulted in James Barton being put clear for a try converted by Williams.
Alcester hit back before the break through a try from winger Jake Grainger to trail only 10-5 at half time.
The early stages of the second half were evenly fought, although Alcester’s play seemed to lack conviction and a real belief they could win this game and they were dealt a further blow when Claverdon scored a second try through Jack Johnson to extend their lead.
To the home side’s credit they hit back soon afterwards with a try from makeshift centre Ben Hope, who normally does his best work on Alcester’s open side, but was forced to play out of position.
Unfortunately for the hosts this was as close as it got as Claverdon closed the game out with two further Williams penalties to put the match beyond Alcester’s reach.
On a disappointing day for the home side, they can take some heart from being able to compete against one of the sides who are likely to be pushing for promotion from this division.
Alcester have a week off from league rugby this weekend and are in friendly action against opponents that at the time of going to press were still to be confirmed.
They resume league action on October 24 when they make their second visit of the season to Coventrians’ Black Pad ground, having already exited the Warwickshire Vase at the hands of the Coventry men on the first day of the season.