Chaddesley Corbett 40 Redditch 14
Midlands Five West (South)
ANY thoughts Redditch may have had of an easy return to level nine were shattered with this reality check at Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday.
The home side had recruited well over the summer and used their new additions to good effect. It was nothing fancy – just hard and straight running which Redditch struggled to cope with.
However, Redditch started brightly as Craig Martin and Matt Allen took the ball to the opposition, aided and abetted by Tom Saddington and Stuart Brooks in the backs.
Despite this though, the Chaddesley attacking was more fruitful and their dynamic No 8 broke through tackles before slipping the final pass for the opening try which was converted.
Redditch hit back in style as Saddington produced one of his trademark shimmies to slip through the hosts’ defensive line and darted to the posts. Although hauled down short of the line, he was able to offload to Allen who scored.
Old frailties raised their heads once more though as too often the ball was lost in contact and poor decisions gave the ball away to an opposition who were hungry to attack at any opportunity.
All these errors combined in the lead-up to Chaddesley’s second try. A dropped ball was pounced upon, spun down the line and all of a sudden a promising opportunity had become a try against Redditch, again converted.
James Mills was instrumental in providing the next scoring opportunity after a series of penalties found Redditch sniffing the try-line. Mills was sniping with quick moves which ended with Craig Martin ripping the ball from a close quarter maul and dotting down. Saddington converted to level the score.
There had been plenty of promise from Redditch including a delightful chip and catch from Saddington, direct runs from replacement Mike Essex, crunching tackles from centre Will Heath and safe hands from full back George Docker. However, these highlights failed to bring much sunshine to the overall performance in the second half.
Redditch contrived to concede four more tries which may have flattered the home side but once heads started dropping it was hard to turn things around.
The hosts’ back row began to dominate the ball, scrums were lost and platforms were built from which tries were scored. Interchanges, both forced and tactical, disrupted the visitors’ progress a little and the referee decided a couple of players deserved an enforced ten-minute break following a scuffle.
Spectacular runs by many of Redditch’s back line were defended well by a home side whose confidence grew by the minute.
Chaddesley deserved their win and look likely to be contenders for the title come April. If Redditch hope to be in contention too, they must learn to cut out the silly mistakes, retain the ball in the tackle and be more consistent with tackles.
However, there were a lot good points which can be built upon on Saturday when they visit Aldridge in the Midlands Junior Vase second round.
Report and picture courtesy of Brian Carr.