Coventry Welsh 17 Alcester 0
Midlands Four West (South)
THIS was a much closer game than the scoreline suggests but in the end was still a defeat for Alcester on their travels to Coventry.
Patched up after injuries to a number of first team players, Alcester put in a courageous performance which suggests a turn in fortunes could be just around the corner as they bid to preserve their status in this division.
Colts fly half Josh O’Connor made his first team debut for the visitors and put in an excellent display. With his first touch of the ball, he made a clean break to put his team deep into the opposition 22m area, where they stayed for much of the first quarter.
Alcester full back Sam Smith hit the upright with his penalty attempt early on and his team were to later rue their missed chances.
Up front the Welsh had a big size and weight advantage and at times made it tell in the set piece.
However, hooker Tom Harris, veteran Nev Teasdale and George Green – the latter playing despite carrying an injury into the game – all came out of this front row contest with great credit.
The first 40 minutes was brutal in its physicality but scoreless. Alcester flanker Ben Hope was forced off the field and to hospital before the break and centre Matt Ashby was another casualty with a shoulder injury.
The first try came very late into an extended first half when, with 50 minutes on the clock, the Welsh forwards crashed through to make it 5-0 at half time.
The second half quickly turned into a defensive battle for Alcester. Flanker Phil Birks was outstanding, as was Will Silk who returned to the back line for a rare start this season.
Scrum half Robbie Parker was the pick of the players for the visitors – determined in defence and sniping in attack – and deservedly won the man of the match accolade.
Veteran 8 Nick O’Connor, called back up to start this game, made a big difference, but his game was cut short when he suffered a hamstring tear which looks likely to have ended his season just after he had got back into first team action.
Towards the end the walking wounded of Alcester just could not hold on any longer and Welsh took full advantage to win the game.
Alcester host local rivals Kings Norton in a key game on Saturday (2.15pm), hoping to avenge a narrow defeat from earlier in the season.