Redditch 12 Alcester 27
Midlands Four West (South)
IT WAS not always pretty but Alcester were nevertheless delighted to claim the bragging rights over local rivals Redditch for the first time in several seasons at a wet and murky Bromsgrove Road.
The visitors had to come from behind to do so but were able to celebrate a first ever league win over the Kingfishers and an eighth successive league victory this season.
Despite being forced into making changes to the team in key positions, Alcester still managed to claim the early ascendancy.
They turned down two very kickable penalty opportunities and flanker Lee Avery-Sherwood did get over the line against his old club, only to be adjudged to have not grounded the ball properly.
As the first half wore on the home side got more and more into the game and on 25 minutes they took the lead when the ball was moved quickly to wing Mark Green who showed an excellent turn of pace to finish smartly.
Alcester scored their first points from the boot of Jamie Harland after a home infringement at a ruck, but instead of pushing on from there they conceded a second try when the home no 8 picked up from a scrum and made yards into the visitors’ territory relatively unchallenged before feeding right wing Green who needed no second invitation to score again.
The visitors enjoyed a positive end to the half and narrowed the deficit through a Harland try which the Alcester youngster converted himself to leave Redditch with a 12-10 lead at the break.
After a half time pep talk by their coaching team, the visitors started well and, following a period of pressure, took the lead for the first time in the game thanks to a good finish from scrum half Scott Carmichael.
Straight from the restart the visitors claimed possession again and launched another attack, at the end of which wing Lewis Walker was able to race in unchallenged for his side’s third try after a flowing move had set him free.
The damp and increasingly dark conditions continued to make it a scrappy game on the whole, with Redditch being forced to turn their floodlights on before 3.30pm so the rest of the game could at least be played with more light.
Most of the remaining rugby in the game was played in Redditch territory until in the closing stages Harland wrapped up another impressive performance with his second try and Alcester’s bonus point score.
Hooker Anthony Cauvin was named man of the match mainly due to his direct driving runs at the opposition which helped straighten up many Alcester attacks and keep his side on the front foot.
With previously unbeaten Bromyard suffering a shock 12-8 defeat at Pershore, Alcester are now one of three teams with identical playing records at the top of the table.
They remain third having secured one fewer bonus point than the top two, but have the opportunity to move above at least one of them – Coventry side Stoke Old Boys – who they host on Saturday (2.15pm).
Eighth placed Redditch visit Bromyard.
ALCESTER 2nds were left frustrated at having a blank Saturday as Redditch pulled out of their 2nd XV game on Saturday morning as they were unable to raise a side.
Most of the side took the opportunity to come and cheer on their 1st XV colleagues instead and will be back in action on Saturday.