Harborne 12 Alcester 44
ALCESTER completed what has been a very positive pre-season programme under the guidance of new head coach Chris Johnston with a comprehensive win in Birmingham against opponents who had given the Kings Coughton men a similar thumping in last season’s National Senior Vase.
In the preparation for the new Midlands Three West (South) campaign which starts at Berkswell & Balsall on September, Alcester have been beaten only once in four outings and that was at Droitwich who operate two levels higher than the Red & Blacks.
Alcester are still missing a few players who will be challenging for first team places, but that did not stop them from dominating the game, which was only made possible because of Alcester player and society referee Kyran Flynn giving up what would have been a starting position at loose head prop for Alcester 2nds to travel to Birmingham to referee the game after Harborne wanted to pull out of the fixture as their scheduled referee had cried off.
Alcester ran in seven tries as Jack Green grabbed two and his brother Josh O’Connor one, bolstered by scores from Josh Phillips, Max Biltcliffe and Will Nadin. Biltcliffe added a penalty and two conversions and Glyn Smith also converted one of the scores.
Veteran scrum half Robbie Parker made his first appearance of pre-season to start his 25th campaign of senior rugby for the Kings Coughton men and was his usual effervescent self.
This weekend’s league opponents Berkswell & Balsall were regular rivals in days gone by, but in recent years the clubs have had mixed league fortunes and were as many as four leagues apart not too long ago.
This will be a huge test for Alcester against opponents relegated from Midlands Two last year and who defeated hosts Woodrush 36-21 in Saturday’s league opener.
Alcester 2nds 5 Warley 37
ALCESTER 2nds lost out to their Black Country visitors who, until recently, have been regular opponents of Alcester’s 1st XV.
In the first half in particular Alcester competed well and trailed only 17-5 at the break and, with the benefit of the Kings Coughton slope at their back in the second half on a hot day for rugby, some of the spectators thought an early try after the break might see the hosts back in the game.
Sadly for the home side that was not to be as the bigger and more experienced Warley pack took control of the set phase, at the scrum in particular, and starved their opponents of possession, enabling the visitors to run in four unanswered scores.
In the first half Warley went in front with a try created by their dominant pack, but Alcester hit back to level the score when a superb break from man of the match Chris Burnie created the space for him to feed his centre partner Steve Mason to score.
Ant Cauvin’s conversion was charged down by a pumped-up Warley defence.
Alcester 2nds are at home again on Saturday when they host Bedworth 2nds in a Warwickshire League match.