Alcester claim the bragging rights - The Redditch Standard
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Alcester claim the bragging rights

Redditch Editorial 19th Mar, 2015 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016

Alcester 34 Claverdon 15

ALCESTER remain unbeaten in 2015 and secured the bragging rights for this season over local rivals Claverdon with another excellent win on Saturday.

Both teams are riding high in their respective leagues, with Alcester top of Midlands Five West (South) and Claverdon still in the promotion hunt in the division above.

With just one fit and available prop across the whole club, Alcester were forced to insist on uncontested scrums for this match, but it took little away from an exciting game and an outstanding victory.

The club’s annual captain’s dinner robbed the team of skipper Jack Green and flanker Phil Birks, while injuries the previous weekend to Ben Hope and Andy Conway have ruled them both out for the remainder of the season.

As a result Alcester fielded one of their youngest ever first teams. Flanker Arun Bhaduri made just his second first team start, while 17-year-old Lewis Walker came on as a second half substitute to make his first team debut.

Despite the difference in experience, Alcester raced into a big first half lead as the visitors failed to contain the exciting Alcester back line. The home side ran in four first half tries from centre Sam Smith, winger Ryan Clark, flanker Jimmy Watson and stand-in captain Glyn Smith.

Hooker Harry Abell made it 24-0 at half time with a successful conversion, having taken over the kicking duties from his captain.

Going downhill, Claverdon put up a much better fist of it in the second half and for a while the comeback looked to be on as three unanswered tries closed the gap to 24-15.

Alcester’s defence, led by locks Louis Smith and Matt Alderman, then stepped up and to a man Alcester drove their opponents backwards and defended their line with courage.

The win was secured when captain and man of the match Smith scored his second try of the game and a late try from speedster Ryan Clark put the icing on the cake for an Alcester victory which compares with anything this young team have achieved so far this season.

With two league games to go, Alcester hope to continue this form as they look to achieve their aim of promotion back to Midlands Four West (South) at the first attempt.

Their final league home game is against Coventry side Trinity Guild on Saturday (3pm).

ALCESTER U16s drew 12-12 against visitors Evesham in a low-scoring game dominated by defences.

After an exchange of possession, Alcester’s Josh O’Connor used the conditions to his advantage and placed a good kick into space behind the Evesham defence. The chase was led by Jamie Harland, who was able to collect the ball and score close to the posts and O’Connor converted to give the home side a 7-0 lead.

Evesham missed the opportunity to open their account when they pushed a penalty kick wide and the home side failed to extend their lead when they also missed a penalty. From the 22 drop-out Alcester continued to apply pressure and after good work in the scrum Cameron Hinckley powered over to give Alcester a 12-0 lead at half time.

Tom Goddard and Nathan Harris threatened in the second half for Alcester, but they were unable to turn pressure into points and a last-gasp try earned the visitors a share of the spoils, although the missed conversion meant a chance of victory went begging.

Alcester’s man of the match was prop and pack leader Henry Miles.

ALCESTER U15s defeated Evesham 31-12 in an eagerly anticipated return match following Alcester’s victory earlier in the season.

Alcester made a dominant start and were rewarded by well made tries from Nathan Kennedy, captain Oscar Holland under the posts and two from Cian Allen.

The solid passages of play emphasised the improvement made in set pieces and solid support in the ruck. The confident performance of all Alcester forwards winning the ball and distributing it quickly to wide positions through multiple passages of play was rewarding to watch and ensured Alcester had a 26-point lead at half time.

The visitors responded strongly in the second half to haul themselves back into contention, but Alcester’s spirit and determination was never in doubt and towards the end some sustained passages of attacking play Will Kelso and Steven Coe led to a wide position for Allen to score his third try of the match.

Alcester back rower George Green winning lineout ball. Picture by Keith Parish. (s)

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