Alcester 51 Redditch 8
Midlands Four West (South)
ALCESTER clinched promotion with a convincing derby victory over Redditch at Kings Coughton on Saturday.
It was arguably Alcester’s best performance of the campaign in front of a sizeable crowd at Kings Coughton, bolstered by the guests at the inaugural Legends Day and the contingent of visiting supporters.
With the slope at their back in the first half, Redditch enjoyed the best of the early territory in a scrappy opening to the game. They did go in front after ten minutes with a try from Sam Gladwin, although the score was levelled by Alcester flanker Ben Hope five minutes later.
The home pack had the better of the scrum throughout and early on they forced their opponents to concede a penalty at this set phase, which fly half Max Biltcliffe converted to put his side in front.
The visitors were still well in the game nevertheless and their physicality in the contact situation was causing Alcester some difficulty, especially when their powerful outside centre smashed his way through several tackles to the try-line, for what looked like a certain score.
With the referee unsighted and some way behind play, the Redditch player displayed superb sportsmanship by admitting he had lost control of the ball in the act of scoring and no try was awarded.
After one long range penalty attempt was unsuccessful for the visitors, they levelled the score with another through Bryn Williams on the half hour mark as the even nature to the game continued.
In the closing stages of the first half home lock forward Louis Smith received the ball deep inside Redditch territory and showed great strength and determination to power his way through three tackles on his way to the try-line. Biltcliffe again converted to give his side a 15-8 lead at the break.
If the first half was an even affair, the second half saw the home side completely dominate with some excellent team rugby as they scored 36 unanswered points to secure the bonus point victory they needed.
Wing Alex Chiles was the first to score in the half as he won the race to the loose ball that had bounced invitingly over the try-line from his own chip behind the visitors’ defence.
The next try was from hooker Tom Harris, who was at the back of a driving maul that crashed over the line for the bonus point score, following a clean lineout take. Biltcliffe converted.
The try of the game was scored by 17-year-old full back Oscar Holland after the ball had found its way to him having been through several team-mates’ hands in forwards and backs.
Skipper Jack Green scored his side’s sixth try, which was converted by Josh O’Connor, before man of the match full back Holland scored his second try which O’Connor also converted.
The replacement fly half then scored a try himself which he again added the extras to.
Alcester, who will play at their highest ever level next season, now turn their attentions to trying to clinch the title. The leaders sit four points above second placed Bromyard, who have a game in hand.
Alcester complete their campaign at Stoke Old Boys on Saturday, whilst Bromyard visit Redditch before hosting Stoke Old Boys in their final match on April 22.
Alcester 2nds earned a 28-7 victory over Redditch 2nds through tries from Jake Grainger, Anthony Cauvin, Glyn Smith and Fraser Johnson. Paul Taylor added three conversions and Smith one.
Meanwhile, Alcester’s band of loyal and longest serving supporters, the Brostin Warmwell society, announced after the Redditch games their annual award for their choice of Clubman of the Year was going to head coach Keith Beech.
Beech has led his side to two promotions in three seasons and this award is recognition for the excellent achievement and huge effort he has put since taking the role.
Player of the Month for March is hooker Tommy Harris for his consistent performances throughout the season and in recent weeks in particular.