Coventry Welsh 10
Midland Division Four West (South)
ALCESTER’S title campaign suffered a setback after slipping to only their second reverse of the Midland Division Four West (South) season with defeat to a big and physical Coventry Welsh side.
Welsh led 7-0 at half-time before Josh O’Connor kicked a penalty for Alcester, but the visitors were unable to launch a comeback, mainly due to some disciplined home defence and turnovers, but they had at least the consolation of claiming a losing bonus point.
On a damp and dreary afternoon in Holbrooks, Alcester started brightly enough and could have been in front inside the first five minutes, when right wing Tom Goddard got over the line but spilled the ball in the tackle as he dived in for the try.
Still inside the first quarter of an hour of the game, fly half Max Biltcliffe’s penalty strike at goal was accurate enough but dropped just of the cross bar after the home side had been penalized for straying offside.
The visitors were quickly left to rue those missed opportunities as the home side started to get on top with the greasy conditions suiting their much bigger pack, whose front row weighed in at more than 60 stone between them.
The Welsh forwards did get over the line on the half hour mark, but a combination of Alcester’s back row forwards Mika Pieri and Phil Birks managed to get underneath them and hold the ball up to prevent the score.
With the sticky conditions making any cohesive rugby difficult for both sides and possession being turned over regularly, it was from one of only very few flowing backs moves that the home side took the lead.
Their right wing received the ball in space 30 metres out and he rounded the Alcester defence to sprint in under the posts, before converting his own try to give his side a 7-0 lead at the break.
What was already a tricky looking task to get back into the game, became more difficult at the break as the visitors lost fly-half Biltcliffe and full-back Will Silk to injury, but they did begin the half on the front foot again and replacement kicker O’Connor narrowed the deficit with a well struck penalty.
The home pack reclaimed the ascendancy, particularly at scrum time, where the visitors were struggling to contain their weightier opponents.
The Welsh men got over the line again, but were adjudged to have been held up once more, before their No.8 made the strange decision to pick up at the back of a scrum that was advancing to the try line when a push over score seemed certain.
He was eventually penalized for holding on in the tackle and Alcester were able to clear their lines on that occasion.
The visitors were not able to get any real foot hold in the game to launch a come back, and their cause was made more difficult when O’Connor was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle.
From the resulting penalty the home kicker extended his side’s lead again to seven points.
This was always going to be one of the more difficult remaining games for Alcester but they at least had the consolation of claiming a losing bonus point, which could prove crucial in the final reckoning at the end of the season.
The King’s Coughton men will be hoping to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they entertain Harbury for another league fixture on what is Chairman Jeff Williams’ annual lunch day.
Kick off at King’s Coughton is 2.15pm.
Dixonians 12 Alcester 2nd XV 5
Dixonians exacted revenge for the defeat at King’s Coughton in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, with a narrow victory at the Rowheath Sports Ground in Birmingham.
Alcester were competitive throughout and were frustrated they couldn’t do enough to claim victory but they only had an Alastair Hooper try to show for their efforts.
Carwyn Dickenson, Oli Morrison and Matt Ashby put in stand out performances for Alcester, while Matt “Moley” Alderman was nominated as man of the match by skipper and club Director of Rugby, Stuart Whitehead.
They will hope to bounce back to winning ways when they entertain Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday (2.15pm kick off).