FOR the second time this season Coventry Technical cried off from their league game against Alcester and, whilst the Kings Coughton men once again claimed the league points via an away walkover victory to remain top of the table, frustratingly the cancellation happened on Saturday morning which left no time to source alternative opponents.
Alcester, who along with Birmingham Civil Service look certainties for a top two finish and promotion from Midlands Five West (South), return to league action at home to Keresley on February 21.
Alcester 2nds 12 Old Patesians 3rds 24
ALCESTER 2nds picked up little known opponents, Cheltenham-based Old Patesians, from the fixture pool after their original opponents Kidderminster Carolians pulled out on Thursday.
The visitors, whose 1st XV play in the national leagues, travelled with only 13 players, but were lent two by Alcester as they had a whole team on the sidelines due to the inactivity of the 1st XV.
Alcester player/coach Scott Carmichael turned out for his first action for many months, but was one of the players loaned to the visitors and he rolled back the years whilst operating at scrum half for them, giving his South African half back partner the chance to revel in the accurate service provided to him, as the number 10 ran in two of his side’s four scores.
Rup Daffern also switched sides to even the numbers up and he too more than played his part in the visitors’ win.
Playing up the slope in the first half, the visitors were soon in the ascendancy with their scrum well on top, although it took them 20 minutes to score their first points when the fly half took Carmichael’s pass at pace to dance his way through the attempted tackles and score between the posts.
The Cheltenham men scored again before half time to lead 12-0 at the break.
Alcester made changes at the turnaround, including some that were enforced, and they had to request to go to passive scrums owing to lack of a front row replacement, which whilst it helped settle the flow of possession in the second half for Alcester, is not an option any rugby person really wants.
Still, Alcester were more competitive after the break and, with club skipper Jack Green one of the changes at half time, coming on for veteran Paul Taylor at scrum half and with the scrum now steady, the home side had a more regular flow of possession with which to work.
Harry Abell got Alcester on the scoreboard with a good try, before Ben Hope doubled the account. Matt Ashby converted both scores well.
The home side’s ascendancy was ended by a third try for Old Patesians, before Carmichael once again set up his half back partner to score the visitors’ fourth try to kill the game off.
ALCESTER U16s fought out a 12-12 draw against visitors Leamington.
The hosts took an early lead when Jamie Harland broke through the Leamington line with a jinking 30-yard run, before Josh O’Connor made a difficult conversion.
Eventually continued pressure from the visitors breached the Alcester defence and reduced the home team’s advantage to two points.
Alcester then produced the move of the game when fly half O’Connor made an attacking run across his back line before feeding outside centre Tom Goddard who ran an arcing angle and outpaced the cover defence to score from just inside his own half.
Defences continued to have the better of things in the second half, although an increasing penalty count against Alcester allowed Leamington to apply a period of sustained pressure and only a last-ditch tackle by Jack Baldwin prevented the visitors from reducing the deficit.
Eventually the pressure and a sin-bin reduced Alcester to 14 and allowed Leamington to score between the posts. The conversion made it 12-12.
Alcester were left to rue missed chances and lack of discipline as they recorded their third draw of the season.
Man of the match for Alcester was Tom Willis who was the linchpin of their defence.
Alcester’s Sean Sudworth spreading play wide during the 2nds’ game. Picture by Keith Parish. (s)
Alcester flanker Ed Goddard gathering the ball at a lineout. Picture by Keith Parish. (s)