Grove (59) vs. Alchester (3)
By John Sevier
Grove still on target for promotion following a fine team performance against Alchester.
Grove delivered a very impressive performance to defeat Alchester at Fortress Cane Lane, scoring nine tries in the process. Undoubted star of the show was centre Joe Bellinger who had a storming game running in four individual trys.
The game started in a lively fashion with lock Simon Peel putting in a strong solo run after collecting fly half Dave Maryon's initial kick off. He was almost able to put left wing Guy Nicholl over in the process but the move was stopped just short of Alchester's try line. Thereafter Grove kept the pressure on but Alchester offerred fierce resistance such that after 25 minutes neither side had scored any points. The breakthrough came with a successful penalty kick from full back Roger Sevier and Grove were in front 3 : 0. Shortly after this Alchester levelled when Grove debutante and flanker Dave Wells received a yellow card. The resultant penalty was slotted for 3 : 3. Within minutes however Grove were 6 : 3 up following another Sevier penalty kick. Grove now started to move into the ascendancy and it was Bellinger who started his personal try-fest with a touchdown in the corner for an unconverted try, the score moving to 11 : 3. Next, scrum half Ben Nicholl went over, following a great forwards drive to the Alchester line, and the score moved to 16 : 3. With half time looming Bellinger set off on another terrific run and touched down between the posts which, with Sevier's successful conversion, moved the interval score to 23 : 3.
Grove turned round to have the wind at their backs but the sun in their eyes. Nevertheless it was Bellinger who again went on the rampage scoring his hat trick and Grove's bonus point try for Sevier to once again convert. With the score now standing at 30 : 3 Grove were out of sight and Alchester's heads started to go down. Their cause was not helped when they then lost one of their props to a yellow card. Meanwhile Dave Wells for Grove made up for his sin-binning with a fine try to put Grove 37 : 3 ahead, following Sevier's successful conversion. Grove now started ringing the changes with Huw Lewis coming on for Ben Nicholl at scrum half and Nicholl replacing Matt Young at flank. Martyn Walsh came on for Steve Dixey at hooker. Alchester then received another yellow card and their fate was pretty much sealed. Gareth Hudson now came on for wing Harry Carr just before Bellinger completed his impressive performance with try number four to move the score to 42 : 3. Ben Nicholl then made a terrific break to put centre Jamie Burns over for a lovely try, converted by Sevier, for 49 : 3. Not to be outdone by his older brother Guy Nicholl now stormed up the wing and with a fine solo effort touched down for 54 : 3. Harry Carr returned to replace Sevier but Grove were then hampered by a Dave Maryon yellow card, dished out for a high tackle. Nevertheless Carr then delivered a superb solo run from the back to score Grove's final try, just narrowly missing his own conversion attempt.
This was a very impressive team performance, notwithstanding Bellinger's fine solo haul, and was achieved with at least three first team regulars being unavailable.
Grove team :-
Tim Lane, Steve Dixey, James Eckert (Capt), Paul Miles, Simon Peel, Dave Wells, Matt Young, Carl Alder, Ben Nicholl, Dave Maryon, Jamie Burns, Joe Bellinger, Guy Nicholl, Harry Carr, Roger Sevier.
Huw Lewis, Martyn Walsh, Gareth Hudson.