Aldridge 62 Redditch 19
Midlands Junior Vase round two
KNOWING this was never going to be the start of a cup run, Redditch took the opportunity to blood some new players to the first team, switch positions a little and run out moves rehearsed in training.
Although the score might infer a one-sided trouncing, it was anything but and Redditch were constantly in the face of the Aldridge attackers, spoiling and harassing and generally making a nuisance of themselves.
Solid tackling, ferocious rucking and enterprising defence held Aldridge at bay for much of the game, but every now and then the persistent waves of attack from the home side punched holes which could not be filled and tries were scored – five in each half.
Redditch hit back with three tries of their own – each scored at a time when many sides would have thrown in the towel.
In the closing moments of the first half Matt Allen followed up a break from the active Will Heath to score under the sticks and Heath converted.
Man of the match Jon Beale, making his debut on the wing, was kept busy in attack and defence and Jack Mertens in an unfamiliar full back role ably supported him.
Heath kept the hosts honest with mazy runs as he evaded the clutches of flailing arms and forwards including Stuart Brooks and Sean Madden tried the more direct route.
However, injuries in the second half depleted the bench, meaning at one point Redditch had 11 recognised forwards playing and their lack of positional knowledge in the back line led to gaps which the hosts exploited ruthlessly.
Redditch did not give up though and sharp thinking from Jack Bacciocchi saw him him score from a close quarter penalty before soon afterwards Allen linked on to a fluid backs move for another.
Michael Essex bustled effectively in midfield, James Mills kept his pack rolling forward and everyone played their part in a an entertaining match on a hot afternoon.
On Saturday Redditch play their first home game of the Midlands Five West (South) season against Dixonians. This a very winnable fixture and if the Kingfishers build on Tom Saddington’s coaching and learn from the last couple of weeks then they should prosper.