Alcester 34 – 31 Manor Park

A hattrick from Jack Green and a last minute try by Mark Burrell helped secure Alcester’s seventh consecutive league win, with a 34-31 victory over Manor Park on Saturday.

Dwayne Cruickshank also crossed the whitewash to help the red and blacks continue their dominant streak in front of a sizeable home crowd of over 100 spectators.

The visitors, sitting in second place in the league, started strongly and aggressively, with a series of scrums on Alcester’s line. They were eventually awarded a penalty, before taking a quick tap and diving over to open the scoring.

Alcester then had twenty minutes of scoring opportunities. Firstly, Manor Park were offside in their 22 which gave Tom Burgess the chance to slot a penalty right in front of the posts before hitting the uprights with his second chance just minutes later.

Cruickshank, who was playing at full back had made an impactful start to the game and made a great break down the field. After several offloads the ball made it to Green who was set free to score.

Less than two minutes later, a well worked lineout move saw the front peel away and the ball make it out wide to Green to score his second.

Despite Alcester looking really dangerous with the ball in hand, the game was still end to end. A poorly judged kick ahead, and a lucky bounce in the visitor’s favour, saw Manor Park’s centre gather the ball and crash over the line.

Alcester’s fate had turned as they received two yellow cards in quick succession for separate incidents which saw them down to 13 men. Manor Park capitalised and after a period of pressure on the Alcester line, it was their hooker who crashed over for his second and put his side ahead at the break, 15-17.

Before Alcester were back to their full strength of players, Manor Park added another from short range to extend their lead.

Ollie Hopkins, who came on as substitute for his first team debut, made a great break before offloading to Cruickshank to score Alcester’s third, but the home side still narrowly trailed the game.

Manor Park’s pick and drive game was impressive, and they were yet again able to use this to their advantage to add another try to their points tally.

As the game continued to be an end to end affair, Alcester retaliated quickly and Green crashed through several tackles to complete his hattrick. Burgess slotted over a brilliant conversion, and there was just two points in the game with fifteen minutes left on the clock.

The visitor’s started to lose their grip on the game as they received two yellow cards within five minutes for dangerous tackles, and were now in a similar position to Alcester earlier in the game.

Hopkins looked to have regained the lead for his side but his foot was deemed in touch as he crashed over the line. Alcester were spurred on by this and applied the pressure, camping on their opposition’s line.

A great line out on the ten metre line saw the ball whipped out the back of the resulting maul and shipped wide to Alcester’s top try scorer Burrell, to crash over. The conversion was missed but Alcester had done enough to claim the victory as the final whistle was blown to the elation of the crowd.

Next week, Alcester travel to Coventry to take on fifth placed Old Wheatleyans as they look to continue their immaculate start to the season.

Report submitted by Alcester RFC