Redditch 32 Pershore 7
Midlands Four West (South)
REDDITCH secured their fourth win in six matches on Saturday to breathe further life into their fight for survival.
With 18 points from their past six encounters, the Kingfishers remain second bottom but are now just two points behind both Harbury and Birmingham Civil Service, although the latter’s victory over Claverdon was a frustration for Redditch.
Redditch started with a slow but steady accumulation of territory and possession, as the conditions did not allow for fancy rugby, so the hosts took their time to wear down the visitors until an opportunity announced itself.
The scrums were solid and the kicking game of the Saddingtons – back in harness after a few years’ gap – was accurate and beneficial.
From a platform provided by a set piece, Lewis Saddington timed his pop pass to brother Tom who weaved and shimmied his way through the defence to score a try converted by Sam Gladwin.
From this point Redditch should have cranked up the pressure and taken advantage of the heads dropping in front of them, but instead they allowed Pershore straight back into the game and within a minute the visitors had equalised when they scored from an overlap on the open side.
It was a poor passage of play by Redditch and one they did not repeat. Stung by the score and eager not to let themselves down, they started a spell of constant pressure as wave after wave of blue attacks kept the hosts in the opposition half until the break.
Their second try was a reward for the relentless tide of domination they showed. Pershore won their own scrum but failed to use the ball at all as Jack Duffy sacked his opposite number, the ever-alert John Wormington picked up the stray ball and fed Nathan Marthews who barged over to score and make it 12-7 at half time.
For the opening spell of the second half Pershore came out fighting, showing a little more originality in their attacking play, but could get no reward.
Rarely getting into the home 22m area, they were kept at bay by solid tackling all round and some enterprising breaks from all areas of the pitch.
Will Ballion on the wing was hungry with the ball whilst Ashley Mooney in the centre constantly asked questions of the Pershore defence.
Up front the back row which had combined for the second try made life uncomfortable for Pershore, not allowing them to settle, whilst the lock pairing of Matt Allen and Micky Adams charged their way forward at every opportunity.
Eventually the relentless attacking paid off when a sweet switch move in the centres gave Gladwin room to break through for the third try.
The hunt was now on for the precious fourth try and with it a valuable bonus point. It did not take long to arrive as clean lineout ball was driven on before a breakaway pod consisting of mainly back row piled over the line, with Marthews again claiming the spoils.
Pershore had made some rash decisions throughout the game and had been down to 14 men four times and on one such occasion Gladwin slotted over a penalty kick.
Redditch on the other hand had one of the their more regimented performances with relatively few penalties conceded and a solid forwards display to lay the foundations for what was in the end a comfortable victory.
Tom Saddington rounded things off with another break from a congested midfield, shipping the ball to an eager Matt Allen to take it the last 40m before Gladwin converted to cap a fine performance.
Adams was named man of the match for his relentless workload, carrying and tackling.
Redditch return to league action at leaders Stoke Old Boys on Saturday, March 3.
Redditch 2nds 5 Stourbridge Lions 15
MUCH hard work from Harvey Habgood and James Mills in the morning ensured this game went ahead.
The second team pitch has always been renowned for cutting up when wet but, despite the pre-match efforts, it went to another level and by half time it was difficult to distinguish who was who in the packs.
The conditions were never going to be conducive to crisp running rugby but an entertaining game developed, albeit with more than the usual occasions of kick and chase and the inevitable diving on stray balls just to get that much more muddier.
Redditch lost by three tries to one but should be commended as earlier in the season their defeat to the same side was by a much wider margin.