Redditch 0 Wednesbury 19
Midlands Junior Vase round one
REDDITCH failed to build on a bright start and exited the competition at the first hurdle after a disappointing performance.
The Kingfishers began promisingly and good possession, fed crisply to the backs, resulted in a number of two-on-one opportunities out wide but on two such occasions the ball was inexplicably dropped and on a further two the referee decided the final pass had gone forward.
These were to be Redditch’s best chances of the match.
The first score was a carbon copy of the previous week’s opening try at Claverdon. Under some pressure from the home side, the Wednesbury scrum wheeled towards the touchline and opened up the blind side for a number eight pick-up. He, in turn, fed the 17-year-old winger, who, in diving for the line to score the try, damaged his ribs and had to be replaced.
However, it was 5-0 after nine minutes and the home team were surprisingly behind.
This lifted Wednesbury, who seemed to be getting the journey out of their system, and the arm-wrestle began in earnest. It was to continue for the next half hour with two well matched teams competing at every phase of play.
The first glimmer of a scoring opportunity came on 39 minutes when the visitors were awarded a penalty for a high tackle within shooting range.
The shot went wide to the right, where Redditch failed to clear their lines, choosing to run it out to the 22, where they were turned over.
Wednesbury set up a perfect driving maul and the Redditch forwards, with poor body positions against the low and compact Wednesbury drive, had no option but to bring the maul down as it rumbled towards the line.
The resultant penalty was quickly taken and the visitors scrambled over for the try to open a ten-point lead.
After half time, the scrap continued until the visitors were awarded a penalty adjacent to the posts for their kicker to convert his first score of the day and take it to 13-0.
Redditch fought back and made good ground down the left to be awarded a penalty well within kicking range. However, the tap was taken and the ball spread to the right wing where Harvey Habgood was bundled into touch and the real scoring chance went begging. This was another carbon copy of a phase of play from the previous week.
From a further penalty Sam Gladwin was given the shot but dragged the ball left and the score remained tantalisingly close at 13-0.
Gladwin was in the action moments later with a scintillating break down the left. As he got clear, he thought he could go all the way, only to be dragged down with support available inside.
As the solid physical rugby continued up front, Redditch made full use of their changes and manager Luke Kerins had to make a cameo appearance at prop after injuries to Jack Duffy and Jamie Holloway.
A midfield side entry penalty against Ritchie Beddard took the lineout to within ten metres of the Redditch goal. Redditch turned over the lineout but managed to knock-on in midfield.
To make things worse, the overeager back line defence were penalised and the kick took the score to 16-0 and put the game out of Redditch’s reach.
As the game wore on, a lineout penalty against man of the match John Wormington brought Wednesbury back into the scoring zone and another side entry penalty was converted to complete the scoring.
In a game of few chances, the visitors took theirs cleanly while Redditch were unable to take theirs. However, this exit from the Vase has freed up the fixture list later in the season and given coach Simon Fitzpatrick a few things to work on before Midlands Four West (South) action resumes against visitors Coventrians on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the thin bench allowed Redditch 2nds to travel to Bournville, where they went down to Dixonians in an entertaining match. They hope to be in home action from the pool this weekend.