Redditch Exiles 29 West Mercia Police 33
A TEAM of old Redditch heads with young hearts pulled together under the leadership of Stan Hull to push the Police all the way on a crisp and misty night under the lights at Bromsgrove Road.
This could quite easily have been a mismatch as the Kingfishers took on a team of younger, serving officers and a try in the opening minutes when the Police centre ran in from 60m did nothing to dispel that possibility.
However, the veterans in their mosaic shirts soon gelled into a determined side who, playing to their strength up front, replied soon afterwards.
Josh Kearney scored two tries as Redditch took the lead and the upper hand in a bruising encounter – the first a shimmy as he slipped through tackles and another run in from 50m – the latter converted by Dexy Derrick.
There followed a steady back and forth of scores as the Police scored from a close quarter scrummage before Matt Allen put the home side back ahead.
The tries continued to flow as a speculative kick fell kindly for the visitors to enable them to level the score before a driving maul resulted in another away try.
The first half came to a close with Redditch 26-24 down after Allen had broken away to feed Mark Callow to score between the posts.
The second half was a much cagier affair, possibly due the combative first half having taken its toll and the cold getting into the hands, as gilt-edged chances for both sides were scorned and a spell of aerial ping pong allowed the packs to gather their breath for a final flourish.
It was the Police who struck first when a clever switch move in the backs was the undoing of a tighter Redditch defence but the hosts did have the last word though when a concerted series of drives and rucks allowed John Wormington to burrow over the line.
The Exiles had their impetus back and looked ominous but the final whistle came too soon for them to clinch victory.
Thanks to all who turned out and Stan Hull for getting the side together for hopefully the first of many games for a midweek Exiles team.
Redditch first team return to Midlands Four West (South) action on Saturday at home to Coventry outfit Stoke Old Boys.
It will be a stern test for the Kingfishers, who sit bottom of the pile without a win, whilst their table-topping visitors will arrive with six victories from as many games.