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Birmingham Exiles 24 Alcester 48

A mis of Exiles’ first and second-teamers put in a determined effort against a strong-running Alcester side, but found the visitors difficult to contain in open play.

A mis of Exiles’ first and second-teamers put in a determined effort against a strong-running Alcester side, but found the visitors difficult to contain in open play.

E’s pack frequently shoved the opposing eight back at the set-pieces but, frustratingly, Alcester nearly always retained possession.

Alcester posted two early tries, from openside flanker Ben Hope and right-wing Mika Piera, the latter converted by stand-off Tom Alder.

Exiles responded with a brace of tries from full-back Adam Walker: the first from close range, the second after breaking clear 50 metres out and outpacing the visitors’ defence to score on the left.

Alcester replied with two more tries before the break. Full-back Jamie Clarke crossed, Alder converting, and Hope ran strongly to break through the home defence to register his second try.

The hosts made a good start to the second half, as Walker intercepted and held off a dogged pursuit by Hope to complete his hat-trick; stand-off Dan Johnstone converted to cut the gap to seven points.

All too brief, as Piera crossed for his second try, Alder goaling.

Exiles stuck to their task: Walker kicked ahead, the Alcester defence fumbled and the full-back dived on the loose ball for his fourth try, Johnstone adding the points.

That was as good as it got, though: a penalty goal from Alder, plus two tries from lively scrum-half Robbie Parker, both goaled by Alder, took the visitors 24 points clear, a margin that was a little harsh on Exiles.

On Saturday, Exiles resume their league programme away to Rugby Welsh (2.15pm).

 

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