WITH the first team having a break from league action, focus was on Redditch Exiles whose appearances these days are rare, but they enjoyed an excellent game against local rivals Bromsgrove Veterans who prevailed 26-12.
Hosting the regular side from their close rivals, Redditch defended the slope well in the first half as they soaked up constant pressure with some fine tackles which kept Bromsgrove at bay and in turn frustrated the visitors, who may well play together regularly but for long spells had no answer to gritty determination.
Bromsgrove missed a penalty kick and lost control of the ball over the try-line to add to their frustration.
With some of the guests being former Redditch players, there was inevitably going to be a little personal rivalry which bubbled to the surface occasionally, but overall it was an even-tempered and entertaining contest.
Having soaked up the constant pressure, Redditch began to gain ground themselves as Garry Mills put in some probing kicks, the Ferris brothers in the centre asked questions of the opposition and the whole pack managed to contain their opposition.
However, the pressure could not be converted into points and it was Bromsgrove who opened the scoring with a simple miss-pass move from a 5m scrum.
This was closely followed by a Joe Alekna try as he capitalised on an overlap but, at 12-0 down having played uphill, Redditch fancied their chances in the second half.
Both sides were able to make changes as injuries took their toll but instead of Redditch taking advantage of the slope they found themselves defending more and more.
As Bromsgrove play regularly, they had more game stamina than the home side which was pulled together in the week and slowly the visitors’ advantage was stretched.
A simple tap and go from a 5m penalty and fourth try from Redditch old boy Gareth Davies gave the Boars a 26-0 lead, but Redditch were not done yet.
Their determination and never give up approach was rewarded with a penalty try for a high tackle in a scoring position and in the closing minutes the fresh legs of Josh Kearney skipped 60m through tackles and set up the ruck from which lock Craig Martin waltzed over to score after lurking on the left wing.
A cracking game was enjoyed by all and provided an active talking point in the bar. The challenge now is for Redditch to turn out a regular veterans side.
Former players who fancy a run-out with like-minded colleagues should contact the club as next season there may well be a team for them to play in.
Redditch finish their Midlands Four West (South) home fixtures with the visit of Bedworth on Saturday. The 2nds host Stourbridge Lions 3rds on sponsors day and all are welcome.