Old Saltleians 37 Alcester 7
BOTH Alcester teams found themselves playing hastily arranged friendly fixtures on Saturday, with the 1st XV defeated by their Water Orton-based hosts.
It was always likely to be a tough affair for the Kings Coughton men against a side who play a level above them and the visitors were not helped by starting the game a man short and ending it with 13.
Miraculously, at half time the score was just 10-7 to the home team after number eight Phil Birks had scored Alcester’s try which was converted by captain Jack Green.
The second half was much more one-sided and Old Salts ran out clear winners.
An injury to Birks gave the home team an even stronger advantage and they scored a series of tries.
Second row Matt Johnson was Alcester’s man of the match for his tireless performance in the set piece and around the pitch and praise goes to forwards George Green and James Bates who both had to play on the wing for periods of the match.
Seventh placed Alcester return to Midlands Three West (South) action on Saturday with a visit to fifth placed Ledbury. Victory is essential for the visitors to maintain a realistic hope of mounting a push for the top two.
ALCESTER 2nds secured a dramatic 15-10 victory over neighbours Redditch at Kings Coughton after both sides’ scheduled opponents had cried off.
Alcester claimed the Warwickshire Merit League points in the process due to Coventrians’ no-show and were grateful to be able to pick up a fixture at short notice.
The first point-scoring chance went to Alcester but fly half Tom Alder dragged his penalty attempt just wide of the post in difficult kicking conditions.
They did take the lead two minutes later though when number eight Elliott Evans, enjoying another fine game, forced his way over for the only score of the first half.
With an injury to a visiting prop shortly before half time, the game went to passive scrums for the remainder.
With the slope at their back in the second half, Redditch claimed the early ascendancy and took the lead in the opening exchanges of the half with a converted try.
Into the final quarter of the game, the visitors extended their lead with a well struck penalty kick after a home infringement, but they were reduced to 14 men when a Redditch player was sin-binned for persistent backchat.
This was to prove crucial as, the with extra man, the home side finally found space out wide and were able to put a rare flowing passing move together which sent debutant and substitute Ryan Newbury clear on his way to the try-line for a fine finish which levelled the score with only a few minutes left.
The game was settled on a controversial incident with time running out. In a scrappy affair, Redditch crashed over but the referee adjudged the ball to have been knocked-on in the tackle and disallowed the try.
From the resulting scrum, Alcester once again found the powerful Newbury in space and he raced clear of danger and deep into Redditch territory before he found fellow new-boy Luke Jones up in support and the Alcester speedster raced clear to seal victory for his side.
A third recent addition to the squad – full back Chris Howell – was named man of the match by skipper Sam Fell for a solid performance in defence and attack.
The result continues the remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Alcester’s 2nd XV who had endured a difficult start to the season but now have a fine winning run of five games.
They will be hoping to extend this when Shottery visit Kings Coughton on Saturday, when the hosts will look to avenge the heavy defeat they suffered in Stratford in October.