Alcester 27 Bromyard 10
Midlands Four West (South)
THE NEW year began in perfect fashion for Alcester on Saturday as they secured a tenth successive league victory to leapfrog their opponents and move to the top of the table.
The hosts did not have things all their own way as they fell 10-0 down after half an hour, but they rallied to secure a bonus point win in front of a sizeable Kings Coughton crowd.
Bromyard – the only side to defeat Alcester in the league this season in the Kings Coughton men’s opening game of the campaign – started down the slope in the first half and edged the early exchanges, although the first quarter was a very tight affair.
The visitors’ right wing spurned the best chance of the game so far when he spilled a ball which had been accurately put into his path by his fly half and over Alcester left winger Lewis Walker’s head.
The game sparked into life when home flanker Jamie Clarke was sin-binned for an infringement at a ruck, although the Alcester man was unlucky to concede the penalty as from the sidelines his attempted turnover appeared entirely legal. He was unfortunate to be the man on the receiving end of the referee’s warning to the home side for regular infringements in their own territory.
The visitors’ kicker sent over the first three points of the afternoon, before his side increased their lead to 10-0 thanks to a converted try which came from a flowing move from the back of a solid scrum in Alcester’s half.
With Clarke still in the sin-bin, the home side showed great determination to hit straight back when one of the men of the moment, inside centre Jamie Harland, crossed the line following a flowing move by his side.
When Clarke returned, Alcester claimed the ascendancy and just before the break left wing Walker continued his recent rich vein of try-scoring form, showing great strength to force his way over despite the attention of two Bromyard defenders.
With the honours even at half time, the home side looked forward to having the slope at their back in the second half and it was not long before they were on the front foot, with the home pack now just edging affairs up front.
Alcester pressure forced an infringement deep inside Bromyard territory and from the resulting penalty Harland’s well struck effort put his side in front for the first time.
The game was still an extremely tight affair when the moment of the match occurred and with it arguably the try of the season so far at Kings Coughton.
Fly half Max Biltcliffe, who was enjoying a fine game and was later awarded the man of the match accolade, put an accurate and probing cross-field kick from the halfway line and high up into Bromyard’s left wing position, just inside their twenty-two.
Alcester right wing Tom Goddard was alert to it and leapt highest to gather the ball from his opponent before pirouetting out of the tackle, giving him a free run to the try-line and attracting the biggest roar from the home support that Kings Coughton has seen in many a year. Harland converted the try to give his side a 20-10 lead.
Bromyard enjoyed a good spell with the ball in the second half, but their progress was thwarted by an extremely organised and committed home defence which left very few gaps throughout the afternoon and drove their opponents back time after time.
The last laugh on the scoreboard belonged to Alcester when flanker Clarke charged a Bromyard kick down near the visitors’ line and was first to react to the loose ball that had bounced back over the try-line.
This was a superb performance by the Kings Coughton men to win a game that was played in an excellent spirit throughout by both sides, considering what was at stake in the game.
ALCESTER’S group of senior supporters – the Brostin Warmwell Society – have been tasked with choosing the club’s player of the month throughout the season and for November they chose Lee Avery-Sherwood, who had an excellent month to continue his good work in the season to date. Injury and unavailability had prevented him being presented with the award before the weekend.
For December, Jack Green was chosen as player of the month. The Alcester skipper has contributed some important tries this season and December was no different.
Alcester return to league action at Claverdon on January 21.