Stoke Old Boys 24 Alcester 14
Midlands Four West (South)
PROMOTED Alcester ran out of steam in their final league game of the season on Saturday as they fell to just their third defeat of the campaign against a pumped-up Coventry side playing in front of their assembled vice-presidents for their annual lunch.
The hosts went into the match still with an outside chance of promotion, but their hopes were ended by Bromyard whose victory at Redditch proved enough to clinch the title and leave Alcester as runners-up.
Without injured flankers Ben Hope and Lee Avery-Sherwood, Alcester had to make changes to the pack that had impressed so much against Redditch a week previously.
The changes appeared to make little difference, however, with Alcester making the stronger start. Prop Jack Horton’s charge through the midfield led to the first try of the game when second row Louis Smith crashed through from close to the line for his second try in as many games.
Stoke closed the gap with a try of their own but it was Alcester who were playing the better rugby and deservedly stretched their lead.
Fly half Josh O’Connor, the outstanding player in the first half, broke through and offloaded to centre Jamie Harland who finished off a fine try.
O’Connor converted to make it 14-5 at the interval and Alcester looked comfortable. Indeed, with their sources at the Redditch game confirming the Kingfishers were in front at the break, a title-winning day looked on for a short while.
The first try of the second half was always going to be crucial and, despite a fiercely contested opening spell, it was the home side who scored to close the gap to 14-12.
That score took the wind out of Alcester’s sails and they never recovered from it.
The home forwards began to control the game and starved Alcester of any quality possession. Scrum half Robbie Parker and number 8 George Green did well off scraps but Stoke deservedly crossed the line twice more to win the match.
Young centre Jamie Harland was the pick of the Alcester side and was named man of the match.
Despite the defeat, Alcester’s second promotion in three seasons was already secured after a fine season, which represents a major success for the efforts of all the coaching and playing members who have contributed to making this happen.
Bredon Colts 3 Alcester Colts 5
ALCESTER Colts returned from their game against their south Worcestershire hosts with the narrowest of victories over a home side who took the lead with a penalty kick.
Alcester were on top at half time thanks to a try from No 8 Steve Lowe. The second half was just as evenly contested but, with defences on top, there was no further score.
ALCESTER will once again hold their annual charity day on Saturday, April 29 in aid of The Guide Dogs for the Blind and Help for Heroes charities.
Gates open at noon and there will be entertainment and refreshments available throughout the day, with the main rugby featuring an Armed Forces Invitation XV, an Alcester XV and players from various other clubs in the area. Everyone is welcome and entrance is free.