Alcester 1st XV v Warley
Alcester secure an impressive home win.
Alcester 48 Warley 18
It was all smiles at King’s Coughton at long last, as Alcester ran in eight tries to secure an impressive and emphatic home win, their first of 2012.
With their place in level 9 of the national league structure now dependant on others, there was no lack of irony in the fact that this long overdue first win of the year came against the side that Alcester beat to get to their current league level. This was the Black Country visitors’ first trip to King’s Coughton since the promotion play off game in 2009 and there is clearly something about Warley that brings the best out in Alcester, although very few of this current team were playing 1st XV rugby on the day of Warley’s last visit, such has been the complete overhaul of the playing squad, with injuries and retirements robbing the King’s Coughton men of a number of influential players, this season.
That said, the future does look very positive if Alcester can keep the current crop of players together.
17 year old flanker Will Fletcher was the star of the show scoring a hat trick of tries in only his second first team appearance for the club. Fletcher started alongside another 17 year old George Green and his brother and captain Stuart Fletcher, in one of the youngest back rows that Alcester have ever fielded and all three impressed.
With Andy Smith back in at fly half after a long lay off through illness it was clear from the kick off that Alcester were going to look to run the ball and use the speed of their back line whenever possible. In the opening minutes over eagerness prevented Alcester from scoring and an offside at a ruck in their own 22 allowed the visitors to strike first with a penalty.
Having been the player penalised for Warley’s opening score, Will Fletcher was delighted when he drove over from a ruck for his first senior try for the club. Soon afterwards Alcester extended their lead when centre Matt Hurleston blasted his way through to score.
Tries in quick succession again from Fletcher and from another youngster Hadley Ravenhall put the home side in a commanding position, 22-3 up.
Warley battled for territory and clawed back another penalty before full back Jack Green and winger Will Harcourt both ran in outstanding tries converted by scrum half Lewis Hatton.
Changes at half time saw veteran lock Andy Speirs make his first, first team appearance of the season. Jamie Clarke came on at full back in a reshuffle following an injury to Ravenhall and birthday boy Phil Birks and fellow back rower Ben Hope came in to further bolster the pack.
Going up the hill the home side faced much more of a testing time in the second half. Lock James Golder made his presence felt in defence and going forward as he celebrated a recall to the first team squad. A nasty looking injury to prop Nev Teasdale held up the game for some time and it was a relief to all when he was able to walk off the field unaided. The giant Warley lock involved in the incident that led to Teasdale’s injury, was yellow carded reducing the visitors in number for 10 minutes.
Jack Green, now playing in the centre increased the lead with the first try of the second half after good support play by debutante winger Rikki Bowers. To their credit the visitors rallied as the half wore on and when they were back up to their full contingent they ran in two tries of their own before young Fletcher completed the scoring and his hat trick with a try from the final phase of the game.
This was a very encouraging performance by a mostly youthful Alcester side, who were by no means at full strength today, with a number of players missing this weekend, which resulted in the fact they were only able to field one senior side, with the 2nd XV game having to be called off. That said Alcester should take a lot of confidence from this performance into their final league games, with the 1st XV due to host beleaguered bottom side Rugby Welsh who have actually forfeited recent games, whilst the seconds visit another Rugby based side St Andrews 3rd XV.
Both games kick off at 3pm.
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