Bromyard 12 Alcester 10
Midlands Three West (South)
IT WAS a weekend of highs and lows for Alcester as the club notably managed to field three sides, but the first team were disappointingly beaten at then bottom Bromyard.
The game was played out in thick Herefordshire mud and Alcester – on the back of twosuccessive league wins in which they scored 71 points without reply – struggled to get their game moving.
Nonetheless, Jack Green continued to add to his try tally by scoring the first one of the match.
Bromyard levelled the score before winger Alex Chiles sprinted in soon afterwards to put Alcester back into the lead.
The tables turned quickly and Alcester were pinned back in defence whilst the home side pressed on and managed to score from the last play of the first half and crucially kicked a successful conversion.
Alcester played out the last quarter of the match with four props on the pitch but, despite dominating the set piece, they struggled to turn that into any kind of territorial pressure.
A scoreless second half meant Bromyard claimed victory, leaving Alcester sixth and eight points adrift of the top two heading into Saturday’s visit of fifth placed Coventry outfit Dunlop.
To make matters worse, Alcester were plagued with injuries to some key players. Winger Lewis Walker dislocated his shoulder after only 15 minutes on the pitch and was soon followed out of the action by flanker Matt Alderman after he was knocked out.
Towards the end of the match, Jake Grainger suffered an ankle injury. The team are also going to be without full back Fraser Jackson for the rest of the season as he moves away for work commitments.
ALCESTER 2nds enjoyed a better afternoon as they won 32-15 against local rivals Claverdon.
It was a good day for Scott McGee who showed his pace to score two tries and came close several other times. Prop Kryan Flynn and centre Cian Allen also added to the scoreboard.
Reluctantly, third team substitute Stuart Whitehead was called over to the second team game after James Bates went off with a cut eye.
Despite his initial hesitation, Whitehead quickly threw himself into the game and went on to score two tries and kick the only conversion of the game.
Claverdon did put up a good fight and scored three tries of their own but posed no real threat for Alcester who have finally found their feet in recent weeks.
ALCESTER Veterans were beaten 32-10 by Camp Hill 5ths but there was delight at the fact Alcester managed to field three sides for the first time in nearly a decade.
It was also a special day for the visiting Shirley side as they fielded a fifth team for the first time in more than 30 years – an impressive feat for a junior club against the backdrop of reducing playing numbers overall in the game.
Alcester director of rugby Stuart Phillips has worked relentlessly this season with the second team and, once securing good numbers and fixtures for them, turned his attention on fielding a third team with this veterans side hoping to play once a month.
Phillips himself played in this game at No 8, with fellow committee members Dave Marriott and chairman Andy Flynn resuming their old 1st XV partnership in the second row.
Among other older players taking part was former chairman Jeff Williams and no fewer than five coaches from the Sunday morning junior section.
The game also featured Old Leamingtonians player Jason Ashley making a guest appearance for Alcester at the start of his own personal journey. Ashley aims to play 12 games in 12 weeks for 12 different clubs before he hangs his boots up on his 50th birthday.
Ashley is making a donation to a children’s charity on behalf of each club that lets him play for them, with his chosen charity Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice in Coventry receiving a donation in Alcester’s name.
Unlike Alcester’s side which was mainly manned by players the wrong side of 40, Camp Hill were far more youthful and their average age was some 15 years less than their hosts.
This looked like it might take its toll on a heavy pitch in the opening stages as Camp Hill ran in two tries through some poor home defence.
Slowly, the home side grew into the game and their efforts were rewarded with a try for prop Williams.
Camp Hill increased their lead with two more tries, before the home side scored a well worked team try. Flanker Jamie Miller, the youngest of the veteran side, won clean lineout ball and delivered it to scrum half Jon Ryan who set his backs free to finally find right wing Chris Cox who caught the ball one-handed and finished smartly.
All involved in the game enjoyed their return to rugby and now hope to make this a regular thing. New or returning players would be especially welcome to bolster numbers and anyone interested can make contact with the club through Alcester’s Pitchero website.