Alcester 32 Rugby St Andrews 19
Midlands Three West (South)
ALCESTER turned on the style to inflict a convincing defeat on table-topping Rugby St Andrews at Kings Coughton on Saturday.
The visitors arrived seeking a victory which would have gone a huge way towards securing promotion but left knowing they have plenty to do in their remaining three games to clinch a top-two finish.
Alcester remain fifth – which is their likely finishing position with three matches left – although their next fixture at Shipston on April 7 provides the chance to put pressure on their fourth-placed hosts who are six points above with a game in hand.
Rugby Saints may have arrived on the back of ten consecutive victories, but a healthy home crowd witnessed Alcester put the visitors to the sword in front of chairman Andy Flynn and his 50 dinner guests.
The story of most Alcester games starts with them conceding an early try and being put on the back foot and this was once again the case as the visitors scored an excellent try – running a great line through the centre of Alcester’s defence to score between the posts.
Alcester were undeterred and it was their attitude and determination, spurred on by vocal support, which led them to storm back.
Winger Steve Mason demonstrated his strength and pace to fend off several opponents and score in the corner to keep Alcester within two points of Rugby at the interval.
Powerhouse flanker Lee Avery-Sherwood scored the first try of the second half to give Alcester the lead – an advantage they would not give up.
It was no surprise Jack Green got himself on the scoresheet yet again as he claimed Alcester’s third try.
Nerves were heightened when Mason received a yellow card for retaliation which left Alcester with 14 men and only a slight lead and then Avery-Sherwood was forced to leave the pitch with a blood injury.
However, Rugby were unable to capitalise on the extra player and no advances were made during the sin-bin period.
When Alcester were back to a full team they were able to extend their lead as Max Biltcliffe kicked the ball cross-field. It failed to safely make it into the hands of its receiver, but Phil Birks was there to gather the ball quickly and score the Red & Blacks’ fourth try.
The visitors pulled a try back to make it 20-12 but substitute Jack Kendall forced his way over the whitewash to restore Alcester’s authority.
Birks scored again and Biltcliffe was able to slot over the only Alcester conversion in the game but the missed points from the boot did not affect the outcome.
Rugby did score a consolation try but this day was Alcester’s and coach Keith Beech said: “The win was well deserved by a squad of players who were simply outstanding and on top of their form.”
Alcester 2nds were unlucky in their fixture against Old Laurentians as they lost out to a last-minute try in a 26-24 defeat.
GLYN Smith, Elliot Evans, Jake Grainger and Jacob Turner were Alcester’s try scorers, with Smith and Luke Spencer kicking one conversion each.
Old Laurentians scored in the last minute to level the score and the successful conversion clinched victory for the home team.
Both teams have a league-free weekend over Easter. The 2nds also return to action at Shipston on April 7.