Atherstone 7 Redditch 15
Midlands Four West (South)
THE KINGFISHERS picked up some precious points on their travels on Saturday to cement a mid-table position and safety in the division with four games remaining.
Despite playing against 14 men for the majority of the game, it was a hard fought slog against an abrasive Atherstone pack.
Redditch came out of the blocks the quickest and took an early lead when man of the match Lewis Saddington jinked his way over from ten yards out.
This followed two strong set pieces from the Redditch pack, which provided a good platform for fly half Saddington to attack from.
Shortly after the restart a disagreement from a number of forwards led to flurry of punches from the Atherstone ranks, which resulted in an instant dismissal to one of their back row players.
Redditch continued to have the better of the first period, but struggled at times to convert their dominance into points.
The Redditch pack was bolstered by the return of Simon Fitzpatrick, who added weight to the set piece, and eventually the pressure told as a penalty try was awarded to Redditch after a number of scrums folded on the Atherstone line and Josh Holt converted the extras.
Credit went to the home team as they won the second half by upping the intensity and starving Redditch of possession.
Both teams had limited opportunities out wide, but the strong Atherstone pack made good inroads attacking the fringes of the breakdown area.
The Redditch defence soaked up a lot of pressure, but eventually the home team were rewarded after a sustained period of pressure when their number eight darted down the blindside from a five metre scrummage and crashed over in the corner for a converted try.
Redditch picked themselves up and managed to find some energy and possession in the final quarter, a penalty was awarded within range and, following the home team’s resurgence, a welcome three points from the boot of Holt proved enough to calm the visitors’ nerves.
Redditch host third placed Claverdon on Saturday, when the visitors will be desperate for victory to maintain their promotion hopes.