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Alcester end 27-year wait to do league double over Woodrush

ALCESTER recorded a double over local rivals Woodrush for the first time in 27 years after claiming a 43-27 victory on the final day of the season.

Dwayne Cruickshank, who scored Alcester's first try, and Woodrush's Matt Cox. Photo: Paul O'Sullivan
Dwayne Cruickshank, who scored Alcester's first try, and Woodrush's Matt Cox. Photo: Paul O'Sullivan

Despite this, it was a shaky start for the visitors who saw themselves fall behind within the opening few minutes. Woodrush chip kicked over the top and dazed the defence to score and take an early lead.

Minutes later Woodrush extended their advantage with a successful penalty kick. It was an action-packed first ten minutes as Alcester started to find their stride.

After a great bit of play with safe hands through the pack, the ball made its way out wide for Dwayne Cruickshank to run in and score, and Ed Gough’s conversion helped to close the gap.

The Red and Blacks then took the lead 25 minutes into the game from a well-worked try.

The team showed great strength and Christian Rushton battled his way over the line. The conversion hit the uprights and fell the wrong side of the crossbar.

Woodrush spent a sustained period pressing towards Alcester’s line. They came close on a couple of occasions, but the Alcester defence was standing strong.

While the try didn’t come, Woodrush were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time, which saw them take a one-point lead into the break at 13-12.

The second half got off to a great start for Alcester. Mark Burrell started proceedings by putting on the gas down the far wing before off-loading to Lewis Walker to race in and score.

However, it didn’t last long and for the next 25 minutes it was all Woodrush. Three successful penalties and a pick-and-drive try saw Alcester on the backfoot again and fighting to get back into the game. Their luck came when former Worcester player Matt Cox was yellow-carded for high-tackling Jack Green on the way to the try line, which resulted in a penalty try being awarded and an easy seven points. There was just a point in it again.

The wind was now in Alcester’s sails and minutes later Alex Chiles raced in to regain the lead for for his side. With just ten minutes to go, Alcester were keen to see out the game. Burrell was responsible for setting up another try on the wing, passing to Green and Gough converted comfortably.

The forwards got in on the action, with Kyran Flynn off-loading metres from the try line to Louis Smith to crash over in the corner. Despite the tricky angle and windy conditions, Gough successfully converted again to seal things nicely.

Alcester finished the 2021-22 campaign in fourth position after their most successful season, which included a seven-game unbeaten run earlier in the year.

Walker finished as the side’s top try scorer with 13, with club captain Max Biltcliffe narrowly behind with 12 and is now stepping down from his position.

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