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Penalty pain hurts promising Alcester
10:34am Thursday 12th December 2013 in Sport
Alcester 17, Stoke Old Boys 18
ALCESTER suffered a third narrow defeat in a row in the Midlands Division Four West (South).
A thrilling clash, which saw the lead change hands on four occasions, was settled by an improbable long-range penalty rightat the death.
The Kings Coughton side were missing captain Joe Sears through injury but started brightly.
But the hosts were rocked back inside 10 minutes when the visitors’ backs showed some nice hands to create an overlap and open the scoring with their first real attack of the game.
With the slope at their back, Alcester reclaimed the territorial ascendancy and flanker Ben Hope dived over from short range for a try which was converted by full-back Jamie Randall.
Randall landed a penalty kick as the home side stretched their lead to 10-5 at the break, although the half ended badly for Alcester when they lost influential player-coach Scott Carmichael to a serious looking Achilles injury.
Carmichael was replaced at fly-half by full-back Randall, but soon he too departed with a dislocated shoulder and Jack Green slotted in as Alcester’s third 10 of the afternoon.
But Stoke began to battle back into the game and a penalty and try saw them edge 15-10 ahead.
However, a threadbare Alcester side refused to lie down and they reclaimed the ascendancy, particularly up front where their young forwards performed extremely well against bigger and more experienced opponents.
One of their impressive number, Lewis Smith, reclaimed the lead for his side as he barged over from short range, before Ben Hope added the extras as the lead swung back to Alcester 17-15.
The situation looked good for the hosts when Stoke lost a player to the sin-bin for persistent infringement and Hope had the opportunity to stretch his side’s lead with a penalty, but dragged his attempt just wide.
With time running out and now restored to full numbers after the yellow card period ended, the visitors’ fly-half elected to have a shot at goal when his side were awarded a penalty in the middle of the field but just short of thehalfway line.
What looked like an audacious, over-ambitious attempt was brilliantly landed, with the ball just clearing the cross bar to claim the win for his side.
On Saturday, Alcester visit Woodrush (2.15pm kick off).
l The seconds edged out Harbury 17-15 in the quarter-finals of the Warwickshire Second XV Shield.
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