Benskin and Cave bag a brace apiece
ALCESTER 2nds lost 31-17 at Shottery in Warwickshire Merit League 2A – a result that saw them slip to the foot of the table.
Skipper Luke Spencer had the luxury of a 22-man squad and the introduction of players from the bench at half-time made for a much more competitive second half.
Shottery made the better start with two tries in the opening quarter from Gregg Cave and former Alcester player Ed Benskin, the second being converted for a 12-0 lead.
Two more tries from Ollie Sharples and Benskin followed as the home side punished some sloppy play from the visitors, before Glyn Smith’s penalty posted Alcester’s first points just before the break.
The half-time changes galavanised Alcester. George Green, playing his first game after several weeks off through injury, added direction and aggression up front and one of last year’s colts, Harry Roderick, provided zip and variety to the attack from scrum-half.
A good interchange of passes set skipper Spencer free to race in under the posts, which Smith converted to bring the score to 24-10.
With the visitors now firmly in the ascendancy, hooker Kyle Derry was held up over the line before a sniping run from the side of the ruck by Roderick and a Spencer conversion brought the score to 24-17 and the comeback looked on.
To the home side’s credit, they regained control of the possession and territory in the closing stages. A long-range missed penalty was followed by an attempted drop goal by Benskin as Shottery tried to move two scores away from Alcester before finally claiming a fifth converted try through Cave for a deserved 31-17 win.
Will Silk was named Alcester’s man of the match, Roderick also impressed and there were Alcester debuts for Ollie Tabor and Liam Tallent playing his first ever games of rugby union.
Both Alcester 1sts and 2nds are at home on Saturday. The former take on Droitwich in Counties One Midlands West (South) while the 2nds host Daventry 3rds in the Merit League. Shottery travel to Harbury 2nds.
In Counties Three Midlands West (South), leaders Harbury are at home to Kings Norton.