Redditch 37 Keresley 17
Midlands Four West (South)
REDDITCH produced a vastly improved performance than that of their previous effort at Bromsgrove Road to see off Keresley on Saturday.
Three weeks earlier the Kingfishers were below-par as they suffered defeat against Coventry Welsh, but this time they were at the races to register a second win of the campaign.
Redditch camped in the opposition half for the first ten minutes and eventually from a scrum on the 22 Redditch fed the ball wide and Bryn Williams, playing at outside centre, ran around his man to score out wide.
Keresley fought back and retained possession before splitting the Redditch defence for a great gallop downfield which was halted by a swarming Redditch cover defence, who conceded the penalty.
Keresley opted for the scrum under the Redditch posts, but messed up an over-elaborate back line set move, enabling the Kingfishers to turn the ball over and clear their lines.
Redditch won the lineout against the throw and Williams took the ball deep into the Keresley 22 where tempers flared and the referee put down his marker by yellow-carding one from each side.
Shortly afterwards Keresley did not find touch and a speculative return kick by Redditch saw Will Heath show great strength to steal the ball from the opposition winger and scamper over in the corner.
Once again the visitors fought back well and forced play deep into Redditch territory before influential Kingfishers back rower Paul Barnett suffered injury and was replaced by the evergreen Stan Hull.
A scrum penalty to Redditch enabled them to clear their lines to halfway but the respite was shortlived as Keresley swarmed back, only to lose the ball under the posts for a Redditch 22 drop-out.
As Keresley ran the ball back they were halted by a high tackle from John Wormington who received a ten-minute spell in the bin for his efforts. Worse was to come as Keresley took advantage of the disorganised Redditch defence to run through for a much-needed try which left Redditch with a 10-5 lead at the break.
Redditch started the second half brightly but a wild pass from Williams flew over the head of replacement Mark Green and the scoring chance went begging.
However, moments later Williams made amends by firing a perfect pass to Green who ran in unopposed to restore the ten-point gap.
The Redditch tight heads were struggling in the scrum under the dubious tactics of the Keresley loose head and Stu Hope was given a well deserved rest.
The hosts moved further ahead in the 56th minute when a well executed back line move saw Green given an inch of space and that was all he needed as he streaked down the left touchline to score in the corner.
Three minutes later it was ‘Greeny’ again who showed good strength before passing inside to captain Gareth Davies for the try and the one-way traffic continued as Redditch capped a fine passing move with another try to make the score 30-5.
However, moments later Louis Saddington caught the referee’s attention and his interpretation of a deliberate knock-on led to Redditch’s third yellow card of the afternoon.
A poor clearing kick by Heath gifted Keresley possession and they managed to retain it for the next ten minutes. Eventually Keresley’s influential stand-off capped a fine afternoon to go through for the try which he converted.
The hosts’ Simon Fitzpatrick came on to shore up the tight head position and immediately used his size, strength and experience to win the tight head.
The unexpected possession saw Matt Allen speed straight through the defence to score under the posts and this time the conversion was made to give Redditch a 37-12 lead.
For the third time in the match Keresley came back hard after conceding and soon had Redditch under pressure on their own line. Captain Davies took one for the team as the consistent referee delivered Redditch’s 4th yellow card for holding on in the red zone.
Then, for the third time in the match, Keresley took advantage of Redditch being a man down to drive over close to the posts for the final score of the game.
A bonus point win was a much-needed boost for Redditch, for whom man of the match was Ricky Merritt, who was fully supported by fellow second row Craig Martin in a beefed-up scrum and functional lineout.
Defence and discipline are the areas Redditch will be looking to improve on when they visit local rivals Kings Norton on Saturday.