Redditch 66 Bloxwich 19
Midlands Five West (South)
REDDITCH saw off Bloxwich in a surprisingly one-sided encounter to secure a vital victory which propelled them into fourth place.
The Kingfishers were expecting a close game against a side which began the match just two points behind them but this was not the case as Redditch ran riot to move within four points of second-placed Chaddesley Corbett.
A Craig Martin charge direct from the kick-off they made the hosts’ intentions clear from the start and direct, purposeful running was the enduring memory of the game as Redditch ran in ten tries as everybody got the opportunity to stretch their legs and have a run at a disjointed Bloxwich defence.
Lucas Bates was first to go close. He was the last man in a clever passing attack but was taken out with a head-high tackle just short of the line. On another day it might have been given as a penalty try but a penalty and yellow card were the actual sanctions.
However, Matt Allen had no trouble trundling over the line and around under the posts from the tap kick. Virtually from the restart a stray clearance kick was secured by Tom Saddington who fed the ever-keen Allen who in turn released Clarke Parker to score easily.
The visitors’ heads started to drop just as the Redditch confidence went up a notch and James Mills made space to slip a smart pass to Stuart Brooks who jinked his way through despairing tackles for try number three.
Martin strode in for the fourth virtually from the halfway line, before getting involved in an incident that could have turned the game.
High or late tackles had been pattern for the visitors and, following another such example, Martin and their No 8 exchanged blows. However, the referee only saw the retaliatory punch and showed Martin a red card, leaving Redditch to play 50 minutes a man short.
There have been examples recently of Redditch getting a lead and sitting back to allow the opposition back into the game, but there was no such danger this time as they knuckled down, eliminated the errors and closed in for the kill instead.
Despite going backwards in a now underweight scrum, Mills was able to get quick ball released and Will Spires at fly-half found room to free up Saddington who in turn put Brooks in for his second try.
The previous four tries had all been converted but this this one fell short, yet still the Kingfishers had a very healthy 33-0 lead at the break.
Everyone seemed to be getting in on the action as Jack Mertens was making breaks in the centre, Saddington continued to weave into spaces, Harvey Habgood cleared up any loose ball at the back and hooker Mickey Essex made valuable metres.
Stu Hope and Chris Upton joined in the battering of the Bloxwich back line and the game continued to played in the visitors’ half. A quick tap penalty freed Spires to give Jack Bacciocchi a clear run and he passed to Connor Morris who showed a clean pair of heels all the way to the try-line.
Allen soon got his second try from a weaving run from halfway through limp tackles from a beaten side.
A few changes saw Nathan Marthews make a holiday special appearance in the back row and he did not take long to join in the fun, whilst Cal Razzak made his first team debut on the wing and had opportunities to settle in.
One area that Bloxwich were superior in was the set scrum as their wily and experienced pack had a little too much for Redditch to cope with, which was helped by having the extra man.
On three occasions in the second half they found themselves with attacking scrums near the Redditch line and each time they had enough to force their way through for scores.
The closing quarter virtually became the Matt Allen show as he ran in three more tries, all from more than 40 metres out and all from strong, direct runs through dispirited tackles.
His committed running, leading from the front and sackful of tries would normally have given him the man of the match accolade, but instead it went to Spires who is becoming more and more confident in the new fly-half role. He made eight out of ten conversions.
Redditch resume league action at Dixonians on Saturday, January 4 (2pm).