Harbury 7 Redditch 13
Midlands Four West (South)
REJUVENATED Redditch clinched their fourth league win of the season on Saturday to boost their chances of survival.
The Kingfishers, however, remain second bottom as Birmingham Civil Service were also victorious, winning 6-0 at top five side Burbage.
This was an impressive victory for Redditch, who had 53 points put past them by Harbury at Bromsgrove Road in October.
Another key game awaits Redditch on Saturday when Pershore come to Bromsgrove Road, where another positive result for the home side would more than likely drag other sides into the battle at the bottom.
A swirling wind form the outset made kicking a lottery on Saturday but did not stop either side from buying a ticket, with mixed success.
A cleanly struck penalty kick from the visitors’ Sam Gladwin opened the scoring but other kicks from hand were not so profitable and too often clean possession was given away needlessly.
Lineouts were an area Redditch failed to take advantage of and scrums too were not the source of possession they should have been.
However, despite those failings, Redditch were the dominant side for much of the game as they kept the home side at bay by spoiling attacks and tackling with commitment.
Some tackles were over-committed though, with Nathan Marthews rewarded with a ten-minute break for one such over-zealous example. The player he tackled responded with a frustrated punch and was also asked to take a short breather by the referee.
Harbury clawed their way into the game with a spell of pressure right on the visitors’ line. Solid defence stepped over the legal line a few times until at last the stone wall was breached for a converted try and Will Ballion was also shown a yellow – taking one for the team after cumulative warnings.
The rain subsided and the wind was erratic, but handling was remarkably good considering the conditions. Redditch, though, could not get close despite some storming runs from Ballion, Marthews and Josh Kearney and they trailed 7-3 at the break.
In the second half Redditch played a much better game. Although the set pieces still did not function as well as they should have, they had enough of the ball to begin to use it profitably.
Running straight and hard with support players on hand, the Kingfishers were able to drive the ball into the corner of the pitch. With the defence scampering to the open side to cover the inevitable attack, James Mills sniped over in the corner on the blindside to snatch the lead.
Not long afterwards the second try was scored, as this time full back Gladwin joined in the slick-handling backs move and scored an unconverted try.
The last five minutes were a tense affair, as Harbury woke up to the fact they were going to lose to a side below them in the table and threw everything at Redditch in a bid to snatch victory.
They came close, too close, with Jack Duffy receiving Redditch’s third yellow card for slowing the maul down illegally.
The final scrum of the day was also the most crucial as Harbury piled all their effort into a pushover try bid, but Redditch pulled their best performance of the day out of the bag, won the scrum against the head, cleared the ball to safety and ran down the final minute of the clock for a richly deserved four-point win.
There were 15 contenders for Redditch man of the match, but Duffy got the nod ahead of Marthews, Craig Martin who carried for some hard yards and Lewis Saddington whose kicking game was a valuable territory-winner in the second half.