Redditch 15 Clee Hill 32
Midlands Junior Vase round one
THERE was a throwback to old-school rugby when the Shropshire visitors brought two sides to Bromsgrove Road on Saturday but, even though it was honours even as the Kingfishers’ second string won 22-0, the bigger prize went to Clee Hill whose first team progressed into the next round of the cup.
A much-changed Redditch side started brightly as they linked well and showed a lot of promise in an opening spell which saw fly half Tom Saddington finish off a fine passing move.
However, they were soon pegged back when Clee Hill hit back, firstly thorough a fortunate sequence of errors from both sides that fell sweetly for the guests before a driving maul was rewarded with a second try.
A third try for the visitors was not far away, when again a lucky break fell in favour of Clee who took their chance for a converted try and a commanding 17-5 lead.
With recent results having gone against them, it would have been easy for Redditch to cave in at this point, but for the remainder of the first half the Kingfishers were the better side and some fine moves and line breaks from Nathan Marthews and Josh Kearney punched holes and John Wormington and Jack Mertens sniped around the edges.
However, despite having the possession and impetus, they could not turn it into points and went into the break still behind.
The start of the second half brought the reward Redditch had been searching for as a delightful midfield switch allowed Tom Saddington to feed Marthews whose line took him straight between the posts.
Invigorated, Redditch built the pressure on Clee, shrugging off the yellow card for Will Baillon to score another try when a tap penalty allowed Kearney to drive forward and offload to Tom Saddington for his second try.
Redditch could not maintain this momentum though and the extra man for Clee Hill began to tell as they they struck back with two scores in quick succession and, as the game drifted away from a tired Redditch, the visitors scored another try from a rolling maul.
The Kingfishers were not helped by giving away penalties, possession and territory on an alarmingly regular basis but the hosts were also aggrieved by numerous refereeing decisions.
Redditch, for whom debutant Dom De Vito in the second row was man of the match, will seek their first win of the Midlands Four West (South) campaign at home to Claverdon on Saturday.