Manor Park 53 Alcester 13
Midlands Four West (South)
ALCESTER experienced the highs and lows of rugby over two weekends as one of their biggest wins of the season against Kings Norton was followed by their biggest defeat of the campaign against the Nuneaton-based champions-elect on Saturday.
However, for half of this game there was little between the two teams. Going uphill and against the elements, Alcester were outstanding as hooker Tom Harris led his pack well and captain Jack Green was impressive in both defence and attack.
Top of the table Manor Park threw everything at Alcester early on knowing the slope would likely prove to be a big advantage, but stout defence thwarted the home side for the first 15 minutes until Manor Park finally forced their way over.
A 5-0 lead quickly turned into a ten-point advantage before fly half Josh O’Connor kicked Alcester on to the board with a penalty.
The home side kicked two more penalties to lead 16-3 before flanker Ben Hope finished off an outstanding breakaway try for Alcester, which started in their own twenty-two when Harris turned over ball and set his side on their way.
A conversion from skipper Green made it 16-10 at half time and left the game in the balance with everything to play for.
With the elements now in their favour, Alcester had a real chance of causing an upset but, instead of building on their valiant first half performance, Alcester lost confidence and Manor Park took full advantage.
With their heads down, Alcester were no match for the men from north Warwickshire who began to run riot.
Flanker Lee Avery-Sherwood and number 8 Phil Birks both impressed but few others matched their aggression as Alcester failed to make the most of the slope.
The game was over as a contest before things went from bad to worse for Alcester when full back Tom Pedley and Sam Smith both had to go to the nearby George Eliot Hospital with nasty-looking injuries.
With three league games remaining, Alcester need to perform consistently as they did in the first half of this game if they are to retain the league status the squad has battled so hard to secure.
Fellow strugglers and neighbours Redditch and Kings Norton both recorded impressive home wins on Saturday which means Alcester are very possibly going to need to pick up points in their remaining three games to secure their safety.
They have a break from league rugby this weekend before the crucial derby at home to Redditch on Saturday, March 19.
Alcester 2nds 39 Aston Old Edwardians 2nds 29
ALCESTER 2nds recorded a welcome win in a high-scoring game at Kings Coughton.
For the second weekend running, Colt Jamie Harland was the star of the show with a hat-trick of tries to follow up his brace from the previous weekend.
Skipper Rup Daffern added two tries of his own and Stuart Whitehead and Carl Platten also crossed the line, whilst veteran Paul Taylor and Harland both added conversions.
Daffern was full of praise for his side, in what he described as an excellent all-round team performance.