Alcester 19 Shipston 41
Midlands Three West (South)
DEPLETED Alcester lost out to promotion-chasing Shipston at Kings Coughton on Saturday.
The Red & Blacks were without key players such as Sam Lear, Josh O’Connor and Matt Johnson through injury and family commitments and it showed despite a valiant effort against their second-placed visitors.
The game started poorly for the home side who conceded a try within the first minute and things got worse moments later when prop Tommy Wright was sin-binned for retaliation.
The visitors proved their worthiness to hold a top two position in the league as they dominated early possession and scored their second try within the opening ten minutes.
Shipston’s third try came on the 15-minute mark but the strong winds helped prevent any successful conversions.
Alcester gained some possession and had ten minutes of sustained pressure but were unable to capitalise on this before Shipston raced back upfield to add another try to their tally and claim the bonus point.
Full back Will Silk boosted Alcester’s hopes by scoring his side’s first try on the stroke of half-time and Max Biltcliffe added the first successful kick of the game.
However, Shipston went into the break with a 20-7 lead and a 15th win of the season looking firmly in their grasps.
The visitors immediately reasserted control in the second half and added their first converted try of the afternoon before their captain got ahead of himself and was brandished a yellow card after back-chatting referee Tony Venables.
Shipston put their one-man disadvantage behind them and ran through several attempted tackles to score again.
Alcester’s top try-scorer Jack Green was not going to go unnoticed for a game and scored his team’s second try and the home side looked close to scoring again and pressed towards the line until a loose pass was intercepted by the opposition who ran the length of the pitch to score under the posts.
The Kings Coughton men finished the game with a consolation try as Kyran Flynn crossed the whitewash and the conversion was followed by the final whistle.
Alcester, who remain ninth, resume action at tenth-placed Stoke Old Boys on March 23.
Alcester 2nds were sportingly lent players by their visitors so a 12-a-side contest could take place which Shipston came out on top of 51-26.
The second team were grateful to get a game after it looked as if their fixture would have to be cancelled earlier in the week due to unavailability of players.