Alcester 12 Manor Park 10
Midlands Three West (South)
ALCESTER climbed to seventh place thanks to a gritty and determined performance which yielded victory over their Nuneaton visitors on Saturday.
The match was scheduled to be played at Manor Park’s ground but was switched in midweek when the Griff Coton Sports Ground fell victim to the recent weather conditions.
Alcester’s try-scoring hero was Josh O’Connor who bagged both tries to cancel out those by the visitors but ultimately it was Matt Ashby’s brilliant touchline conversion that was the difference between the teams.
Alcester’s ground survived an early morning pitch inspection but was still very heavy underfoot, particularly at the bottom end of the 1st XV pitch which the home side defended in the first half.
The opening quarter of the game was scoreless and was played almost entirely in Alcester’s half with the visitors dominating possession and territory. They were met with some disciplined and determined defence and on the two occasions when they looked like they might breach that line a final pass was spilled by the Nuneaton men to keep the scores level.
In the 25th minute and after another period of sustained pressure the Manor Park forwards managed to rumble over the line for the first try.
The home side were spurred into life following this and enjoyed their best period of pressure in Manor Park’s half which culminated in centre O’Connor powering over through three attempted tackles to bring his side level. Ashby brilliantly converted the try from the touchline with a long-range kick.
The score line remained 7-5 at half-time, with Alcester enjoying the better of things in the closing stages of the half.
The opening stages of the second half were a very even affair but as the match entered its final ten minutes the visitors were now back on top. After another period of pressure near the Alcester line they forced a second try in the corner, despite the home side and their supporters claiming the try-scorer had been bundled into touch before touching down.
To Alcester’s credit they regrouped for a final push in the closing stages and from the most fluent move of the half they created an overlap for O’Connor to dive over for his second try which gave the visitors no time to hit back in the two minutes which remained.
Phil Birks was named Alcester’s man of the match after a typically wholehearted display in the pack – one of a number of solid displays by the home team in an all-round good team effort.
There is a much sterner test awaiting Alcester on Saturday when second-placed Old Coventrians are the visitors to Kings Coughton for a 2.15pm kick-off.
Alcester 2nds 36 Manor Park 2nds 12
VICTORY for Alcester 2nds completed a rare ‘home double’ at Kings Coughton in the recent seasons.
Alcester’s tries came from a Scott Carmichael brace and Scott McGee, Max Biltcliffe and Sam Fell, whilst Sidney Tunstall scored a length of the field try – his first score for the club.
Glyn Smith and Pete Taylor added three conversions between them.
Director of rugby Stu Phillips had a few people to thank for their contribution to the game: “It was a great first game for Tom Hickey, he’s a great prospect for the future and it was a very well deserved man of the match for Oliver Clark,” said Phillips.
“I would like to mention Alec Aucott and Darren Davis who have made the difficult decision to hang their boots up.”
On Saturday Alcester 2nds visit Old Coventrians and plan to build on recent excellent performances in this match.