ALCESTER suffered a setback to their promotion hopes when losing 23-5 at Rugby St Andrews in Midlands League Division 3 South West.

But despite this defeat, Alcester had plenty of positives to take out of the game, especially as they were able to give debuts to a couple of last season's Colts players in Josh Phillips at flanker and prop James Bates.

The Saints started as much the better side and soon took the lead with an unconverted try.

Saints then added a penalty to go 8-0 up before Alcester started to get a foot hold into the game.

Alcester hit back when centre Frazer Jackson fed winger Lewis Walker who crossed for a well taken try.

Saints regained the initiative with the last play of the half by scoring a converted try to lead 15-5 at the break.

Alcester looked much more dangerous in the second half playing down the slope and appeared to have cut the deficit when man of the match Louis Smith produced a splendid offload for skipper Jack Green to score under the posts.

But the try was ruled out when the referee called play back for a forward pass.

Alcester fly half Max Biltcliffe continually probed Saints defence for weaknesses but couldn't capitalise on any opportunities.

Saints stretched their lead with a penalty and then completed a somewhat flattering scoreline with another try in the last minute of the game.

The result leaves Alcester nine points adrift of leaders Shipston who they entertain this Saturday at Kings Coughton (2.15pm).

ALCESTER seconds scheduled league opponents Coventry Welsh dropped out allowing Alcester to claim the points.

It meant the seconds were able to arrange a game with Bournville from the fixture pool at short notice.

Alcester were guilty of over complicating matters near the try line until just before half time when their pack caught a lineout and drove to the line where No.8 Rupert Daffern broke off the advancing maul to crash over for a try to give his side a 5-0 lead at half time.

Impressive Alcester continued to dictate in the second half and looked dangerous everytime fly half Josh O'Connor had the ball in his hands.

But Bournville began to fashion some chances of their own and looked destined to score on one occasion only for their winger to lose control of the ball as he dived for the line.

Bournville did manage a try when the ball slid from scrum half Lewis Hopkins' grasp to level matters at 5-5.