ALCESTER were left frustrated as Saturday’s scheduled first team game – picked up from the fixture pool – was called off by their opponents Chaddesley Corbett who were struggling for numbers, but left it too late to allow Alcester to organise any replacement.
This is hardly ideal preparation for Saturday’s important Midlands Five West (South) fixture at home to unbeaten leaders Birmingham Civil Service, which kicks-off at Kings Coughton at 2.15pm. Alcester go into the match just one place and five points behind the visitors.
Alcester 2nds’ local derby game against Redditch for the Firefighters’ Trophy therefore took centre stage. The trophy is played for at least annually in honour of the Warwickshire firefighters who lost their lives in the Atherstone-on-Stour warehouse fire in 2007.
Alcester 2nds 52 Redditch 2nds 0
ALCESTER resisted the temptation to load their 2nd XV with those from the 1st XV facing a blank afternoon, but were still able to pick one of their strongest line-ups of the season which included ex-Colts Martin Gurr and Ben Hansen, back from university for the Christmas break.
Alcester overwhelmed their local rivals, who themselves were understrength, running in eight tries to win back the Firefighters’ Trophy.
Playing up the slope in the first half, Alcester led 26-0 at the break, although they were dealt a double injury blow as both skipper Ben Lunnon and new player Adam Douthwaite had to be replaced.
They equalled their score in the second half and the game’s tries were scored by Jake Grainger, Gurr and Robbie Parker, who all contributed a brace each, whilst Dom Evans and Josh Eborall both also crossed the line. Gurr also kicked six conversions.
For Alcester, James Skinner impressed coming on at number 8 as he returned to the team for the first time in two years, whilst another youngster – Dom Evans – playing out of position at full back, was man of the match.
Other notable performances came from Rupe Daffern at centre, Darren Gwillym in the second row and of course Gurr who scored 22 points himself.
Alcester President’s XV 36 Alcester Chairman’s XV 10
ALCESTER’S annual Boxing Day game at Kings Coughton was the usual well-supported event, featuring all of the traditions that come with this occasion.
For the second year running, the President’s XV had the upper hand over Pete Goddard’s side, with the Alcester chairman playing in the game and captaining his men against club captain Jack Green who skippered the President’s team.
The recent tradition of players drawing their positions for the game out of a pint pot before the match continued, which led to the usual array of props on the wing and backs in the second row, but did also produce a keenly fought contest.
The President’s side, playing in red, secured a three-try lead thanks to scores from Mika Pieri, Ed Johnson and Green, with the skipper converting his own score.
Ryan Clark pulled one back for the Chairman’s side, playing in yellow, to leave the half time score at 17-5 to the President’s XV.
The half time oranges get ditched at the break on Boxing Day in favour of a glass of port and, after all players and the referee had indulged, it was the Chairman’s side who started brightest in the second half, narrowing the deficit to 17-10 thanks to a try from Rupe Daffern.
Any chance of a comeback for Goddard’s side was quashed though, as Glyn Smith and guest player Luigi Walkerino added further scores for the President’s side, with Smith converting his own score.
Another tradition on Boxing Day is the cameo appearance of club stalwart and life member Simon Barugh, who came off the bench for a 15-minute run-out for the Chairman’s side.
The Alcester pensioner is anything but the archetypal 66-year-old as he once again showed with a mazy run with the ball from his right wing position.
Barugh and his team-mates could do nothing to prevent a second try from Pieri though, which rounded off the scoring and a thoroughly enjoyable game.
Both sides and the packed clubhouse of friends old and new were treated to the usual post-match Boxing Day meal of fish fingers after the game as Alcester continued with their traditions of this fine event.