Midlands Three West (South)
Alcester 15-12 Rugby St Andrews
ALCESTER pulled off one of their performances of the season to beat league leaders Rugby St Andrews on Saturday.
St Andrews, who sit four points clear at the top of the Midlands Three West (South) standings, had not lost a game all season before their trip to Kings Coughton.
The Red and Blacks were put under pressure early on and were forced to defend their try line in boggy, wet conditions, but after a quarter of an hour St Andrews broke through the defence with a driving maul to take the lead.
Saints found themselves a man down after persistent infringement at the scrum, with a yellow card brandished towards their team, however, it wasn’t until their opposition were back to full strength that Alcester secured their best period of possession.
After numerous phases and great ball retention from flanker Jamie Clarke, he crashed through and the scores were drawn level after Ed Gough successfully converted the try.
The visitors hit back before the break with a set move from the back of the scrum, which set free their full-back to crash over the whitewash for their second try of the game and give them a five-point lead at the interval.
Alcester had the better of the second half, but left it late to claw the game back.
The home side stole a Saints line-out and scored through James Bates to tie the score again with less than ten minutes to go. It was down to loose-head prop Matt Ashby to hold his nerve when Alcester were awarded a penalty in the last seconds of the game.
Ashby struck the ball perfectly in difficult kicking conditions to seal the game for his side and put an end to St Andrews’ winning streak.
Captain James Hibbard said: “It was a truly spirited performance with commitment from every player.
“We played to our patterns and Rugby St Andrews could not match our physicality.”
Head coach David Miles added: “It was an amazing performance. The hard work of the players is paying off and we are looking forward to the second half of the season.” Alcester visit Stoke Old Boys on Saturday (2.15pm kick-off).
Warwickshire Merit League, Division Three
Rugby St Andrews 2nds 31-41 Alcester 2nds
ALCESTER 2nds moved back to the top of the table with a 41-31 victory over Rugby St Andrews at Hillmorton Grounds.
Antony Cauvin lead the way with a brace of tries whilst Glyn Smith, Shaun Nash, Ollie Clarke and Rupert Daffern also crossed the whitewash.
Chris Howell converted four tries and kicked two penalties to add to Alcester’s tally.
Alcester looked like they may have thrown away their winning chances as their lack of discipline saw Matt Jupp and Shaun Nash in the sin-bin at the same time.
The home side took full advantage and scored three times while Alcester were down to 13 men, but it wasn’t enough to claim the victory as the visitors secured another double-header weekend win.
Director of rugby Stu Phillips said: “What a day for the club. I am so proud of every player that wore the Phoenix with pride. With both RSA teams sat atop of their respective leagues, with one loss between them, it was always going to be a tough ask, but all 34 players that put on the red and black played without fear to secure two amazing wins, the best Christmas present a director of rugby could receive.”