PROMOTED Alcester continued their preparations for the new Midlands Three West (South) season with two friendlies last week, writes Amy Flynn.
First up was last Thursday’s visit to Finstall Park to face Bromsgrove 2nds when Alcester travelled with a 23-man squad.
The competitive affair was played over four quarters of 20 minutes so both sides could rotate their squads, allowing game time for all of the team.
Bromsgrove scored two tries in the first quarter, before the second quarter of the game ended with a try apiece.
Alcester’s score arrived when number eight Mika Pieri, who has not been available to play rugby consistently over the last few seasons, showed his side what they had been missing with an explosive charge upfield, blasting through one tackle and sending another opponent spiralling backwards with a fierce hand-off.
Tight head prop Kyran Flynn did well to be in support to receive Pieri’s pass in the outside centre position, before drawing his man and sending winger Jake Grainger clear to score despite the attentions of a final defender.
The final quarters of the game were both scoreless, with Alcester being on the back foot for most of it, but they showed a superbly committed defensive effort to keep their opponents out.
The game was forced to finish early with the score 17-5 to the hosts due to an injury to Alcester youngster Matt Stone, who had enjoyed a really encouraging start in his first senior rugby outing.
Stone is being assessed for delayed onset concussion and will be managed under the new head injury assessment legislation. He will be out of the game for approximately four weeks but is expected to return.
Preparations continued on Saturday when Alcester only managed to field the bare minimum at Gloucestershire side Dursley.
Lack of numbers, injuries and the physical ask for the team to play twice in 48 hours proved too much and Alcester were soundly beaten.
Despite this, Alcester took positives from both games and used this week’s training to improve their performance before taking on local rivals Redditch in the annual Firefighters Trophy at the Kingfishers’ Bromsgrove Road home on Saturday.
Alcester’s league campaign begins at home to Woodrush on September 9.