REDDITCH got their season back on track against Dixonians on Saturday with a well-deserved 24-7 victory and more importantly an overall performance which built on a lot of recent positives and eliminate a lot of negatives.
A few more enforced team changes left them with a strong pack but light on experienced backs, again a few playing out of position.
However, the whole Midlands Five West (South) contest may have revolved around an incident in the tenth minute.
A Dixonians back intercepted the ball deep in his own half and sprinted the length of the pitch for what seemed an inevitable try.
Wing forward Clarke Parker thought otherwise and chased back to haul his man down just shy of the line. Eventually the ball was cleared and the danger was over.
Had Dixonians scored it may have sunk the Kingfishers, as it happened their performance and belief went up a notch or two and they began to grow in confidence.
Playing with a brisk breeze behind him, Ash Mooney was accurate with kicks to touch, one such kick taking Redditch to within sniffing distance of the try line. A clean take and a couple of forward drives led to Craig Martin dragging the tacklers over the line with him to open the scoring. Mooney converted.
Despite the visitors having a larger pack they were relatively ineffectual against a Redditch front eight who took it in turns to charge forward.
Jack Bacciocchi led the way, Micky Essex had a storming game at no 8, veteran Gareth Davies tackled everything in sight and supported tirelessly.
Parker continued to harass everyone wearing red, and the front row of Stu Hope, Loran Abbots and Dan Oscroft bettered their opposition and had more than their share of the ball driving forward. Mooney extended the lead with a fine penalty kick while Dixonians struggled with kicking into the wind.
One penalty clearance was left hanging which was returned with interest, resulting in a similar scenario to the opening score. This time Bacciocchi provided the finishing touch followed by an excellent touchline conversion from Mooney to give the hosts a 17-0 half-time lead.
Facing the wind in the second period, Redditch chose to keep the ball tucked in with the forwards and not risk any stray kicks.
Half back partners James Mills and Will Spires controlled the distribution carefully, nothing wild or risky.
It paid off as Dixonians had little opportunity to get back into the game. Full back Harvey Habgood had his work cut out chasing aerial clearances in the swirling wind but coped very well as did fellow backline Lucas Bates Jack Mertens and Jon Beale.
Dan Oscoft hobbled off to be replaced by Keiran Davis who was determined not to be left out. It didn’t take him long to get into the action and was nearly rewarded with a try after a 40-metre charge that saw him held up over the line.
The territory gained was used effectively when Mertens popped a sweet reverse pass to Bacciocchi to score his second try giving man of the match Mooney his third conversion of the game.
Although not on the pitch for long replacement back, Phil Harding also left his mark with a thumping tackle dislodging the ball but it could not be capitalised upon as it rolled free over the try line.
In the dying minutes the pattern of the game disintegrated and throwing caution to the wind Dixonians eventually got their try.
On Saturday Redditch travel just down the road to Hopwood to play Five Ways Edwardians to build on this very promising performance.