Redditch 33 Alcester 0
Midlands Four West (South)
REDDITCH retained the Firefighters’ Cup with a comprehensive victory over their local rivals at a blustery Bromsgrove Road on Saturday, although the contest could have been much closer had the visitors not spurned several first half chances.
With both sides struggling for consistency this season, the derby was important as both sides attempted to gain important points in the battle for survival, and it was the Kingfishers who proved more clinical.
The Kings Coughton men elected to play with the wind in the first half and both sides attacked from depth and played some good rugby despite the conditions.
After a tight 30 minutes Redditch’s Tom Saddington cleverly kicked through and, following an awkward bounce for the Alcester full back, the ball fell into the hands of Bryn Williams who scored the only points of the first half out wide.
With the elements in their favour, Alcester had looked comfortable but were unable to penetrate the Redditch rearguard despite No 8 Phil Birks and scrum half Robbie Parker linking well to ensure a flow of possession to the visiting backs, even if it was not always clean ball.
The visitors also decided against kicking a penalty which was well within range just before the break despite the pleas of coach Keith Beech and, after electing to run the ball, the chance was lost.
The second half was a more one-sided affair as Alcester, playing into the increasing wind, were camped within their own 22 for long periods.
Redditch scored their second try when Saddington was again the provider with a clever ‘show and go’ and great support play from captain Gareth Davies allowed the skipper to score between the posts and, after Saddington’s conversion, the writing was on the wall.
Try as they might, Alcester could not get a foothold in the game in the second half and, each time they got into Redditch territory, when possession was turned over Saddington sent a long, probing kick deep into Alcester territory and any pressure was averted.
Redditch increased their lead with two more tries from the ever-present Williams and one just before full time from Saddington.
To add to Alcester’s woes, they lost skipper Jack Green with a dead leg midway through the second half, before Jamie Clarke was yellow-carded near the end.
The home side were also reduced in numbers in the closing stages as one of their number was yellow-carded for dissent.
Redditch, who like Alcester now have two league wins to their name, have a key game at Atherstone on Saturday, whilst Alcester host Stoke Old Boys.
THE HONOURS also went Redditch’s way in the second team battle at Alcester as the visitors’ Development team triumphed 22-12.
Redditch were boosted by the inclusion of ex-first team captain Phil Goddard in their ranks as he offered some much-needed aggression and, after their stand-in captain Luke Kerins decided to play down the slope in the first half, the Kingfishers needed a good start.
Running rugby was not easy to come by on a boggy pitch, although Redditch’s set piece play was proving fruitful.
With second row Conor Hinton also firing on all cylinders, it was not long before he scored a birthday try.
With half time approaching, Redditch moved 12-0 up when scrum half AJ Lewis scored his first try at senior level and it was converted by Will Heath.
The wingers got into the game in the second half and Heath had to make several try-saving tackles to deny the hosts before Lewis made it 17-0 by capping a great move.
Alcester stormed back against more experienced opposition through tries from Toby Allen and Glyn Smith – making a welcome return to action after a work-enforced lay-off for much of the season so far – but Redditch made sure of victory when captain Jason Furness – making a rare cameo appearance on the wing – capitalised on great work from Luke Ottley to score.
The match saw Redditch stalwart Adrian ‘Dexie’ Derrick stand in at hooker for Alcester – allowing him to renew a playing partnership with fellow veteran and Alcester scrum half Paul Taylor – which began 35 years ago in the junior section at Bromsgrove RFC.
The Redditch Development XV are in league action against fellow high-flyers Stourport this weekend.
TRIES from Oscar Holland, Cian Allen, Steve Lowe and Will Kelso led Alcester U16s to a 20-14 home win over Evesham.
Billy Spires-White was man of the match for Alcester, who have now won successive games and four in total this season.