Alcester 34 Upton-on-Severn 22
Midlands Four West (South)
THEY may have done it the hard way but, with successive wins against Stoke Old Boys and now Upton-on-Severn, Alcester have secured their status in the division for next season.
For a team promoted back to this level at the end of the last campaign, this represents a real success for all of the coaching and playing team, particularly given the sometimes threadbare nature of their squad this season.
Building on the previous weekend’s performance against fourth placed Stoke Old Boys, Alcester again showed the will to win and the determination to beat a team which even in defeat guaranteed their promotion to Midlands Three for next season as runners-up.
The visitors, who convincingly beat Alcester 31-8 on home soil in December, scored first and dominated the early stages of the game.
At 5-0 up and playing downhill, Upton looked in control until Alcester got into their offload game which resulted in a fine try from prop George Green, who outran the defence from 25 metres out.
Matt Ashby slotted over the conversion to give Alcester a lead they refused to let slip for the rest of the game.
By half time Alcester had stretched their lead to 10-5 following a penalty from Ashby, who was later awarded the man of the match accolade.
Another successful penalty kick from Ashby made it 13-5 before Upton fought back with a try early on in the second half to make it 13-10.
It was captain Jack Green who led by example to extend Alcester’s lead with an outstanding try, converted by Ashby who was on fire with the boot.
Upton came back in this topsy-turvy game to make it 20-15, before Alcester replied with a score of their own.
At 27-15 the win looked safe but Upton had different ideas and scored again to close the gap before Ashby crossed and converted his own try to put the result beyond doubt and push Alcester up to fifth in the table ahead of the final round of fixtures, which Alcester sit out, safe in the knowledge they will be operating at the same level next season.
In their final outing of the season Alcester 2nds lost out 31-17 at old rivals Shottery. Travelling with only 11 players, they were lent four by their hosts and a good game ensued.
It was, however, a painful end to the season for Alcester’s Sam Fell, who fractured a cheekbone and eye socket in a tackle and all at the club wish him a speedy return to full fitness ahead of September and the new season.
Alcester Colts signed off their existence as a junior age group with an excellent 34-15 win against Wythall-based neighbours Woodrush.
Skipper Callum Wright had previously issued a rallying cry to all players and supporters to make this last outing a special occasion and they all responded with a solid performance in front of a sizeable following in the spring sunshine at Kings Coughton.
Alcester scored six tries through a brace from Tom Goddard, including one superb individual score from inside his own half, captain Wright, Cam Hinckley, Ed Alborghetti and Josh O’Connor, who also added two conversions.
Four of this side have already made the transition to senior rugby and it is hoped most of the others will follow which, with some experienced support, should help reinforce Alcester’s 1st and 2nd XV next season.
Cian Allen scored a sparkling hat-trick of tries as Alcester U16s clinched a late 24-21 victory over Old Leamingtonians.
ALCESTER host South Warwickshire’s Return to Rugby tournament on Saturday, April 23. This is a charity event aimed at 2nd/3rd XV players in aid of Help for Heroes.
Interested teams and players should contact Danny Batchelor on 07973 540769 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.