Alcester hold off Claverdon to maintain perfect record
ALCESTER extended their unbeaten streak to six games with an 11-10 victory over rivals Claverdon, who lost by a single point for the second game in a row.
The visitors made a promising start when top try scorer Mark Burrell added another to his season’s tally within the first five minutes of the game.
However, the early ascendency almost gave Alcester a false sense of security, as that would be the easiest points they scored all game.
On Claverdon’s vice-presidents’ day, with well over 100 guests, the intensity was high and supporters from both sides were vocal in spurring on their teams.
The game settled into an even battle with both defensive lines holding strong and the Alcester pack held up a Claverdon attempt over the line.
Twenty minutes of relentless carrying from the likes of Chris Johnson and Elliot Saltmarsh piled the pressure on the Alcester side.
A clever cross-field kick from Will Jackson then saw debutant Joe Connelly power his way to the line and score.
Centre Sam Turrell slotted the conversion to give Claverdon a 7-5 lead at the break.
The afternoon provided all weather fronts and a heavy downpour made the ball and pitch greasy, lending to some handling errors as both teams looked to add to the scoreboard in the second half.
Alcester’s initial effort was held up over the line but they kept chipping away at the Claverdon defence with momentum on their side.
They were awarded a penalty and opted for the posts and Ed Gough nudged his side back in front.
Less than ten minutes later, the home side were also awarded a penalty and Sam Turrell slotted it over to give Claverdon the lead once more.
In a tense last 20 minutes, it looked as though Claverdon might have just stopped the league leaders in their dominant path but another infringement, this time right in front of the posts, gifted Alcester another easy penalty and that all-important one point lead.
Alcester just had to defend without giving away a penalty and as the Claverdon squad began to tire, the visitors found themselves camped in their opposition's half.
The final play saw Claverdon fumble a scrum and Will Silk off-loaded the ball to Burrell who kicked it into touch to secure the victory.
Alcester face a top-of-the-table clash against Manor Park on Saturday, while Claverdon will be hoping to end their run of four straight defeats when they visit mid-table Bromyard.