Redditch 25 Greyhound 34
Midlands Four West (South)
REDDITCH sit three points adrift at the bottom of the table after finishing on the wrong end of a tight game on Saturday. Visitors Hereford now sit four places and eight points above the Kingfishers.
Although this was far from a must-win game for Redditch, victory against an improving opponent would have been a big confidence-booster.
Redditch were caught cold very early on when a clearance kick found the defence out of position and fell into acres of space. Although the danger was dealt with, territory was lost and Greyhound were on the front foot and scored the opening converted try from an ensuing scrum.
However, Redditch struck right back. Winning a scrum of their own, the Kingfishers’ scrum half Kit Hemming was instrumental in releasing Mark Green who in turn fed Harvey Habgood who had the pace and nimbleness to dodge around a static defence and score between the posts. Steve Willman added the conversion.
An even tussle between the packs made for a competitive contest but simple errors on both sides prevented the spectacle from flowing and penalties were conceded both ways.
The visitors struck next when another speculative kick was not dealt with cleanly and the ball was ripped from the grasp and a converted try was scored.
Undaunted, Redditch went back on the attack with Hemming causing havoc with Greyhound scrum ball, forcing errors which led to a penalty opportunity duly kicked successfully by Willman to reduce the hosts’ arrears to 14-10.
Greyhound had the more direct play whilst, for all their possession, Redditch at times struggled to cross the gain line despite the efforts of Jack Duffy and Matt Allen to drive them forward.
The hosts’ Adam Currien at full back pulled of a remarkable tackle and forced the ball to be held up over the line, preventing what seemed to be an inevitable try, but it was not long before Greyhound capitalised on the ground gained and forced their way over after a series of well-drilled charges. The conversion fell short, leaving the visitors nine points to the good at the interval.
Again, a mistake at the restart gave the visitors the ball back, enabling them to create an overlap for their left winger to evade tackles and stretch the lead by seven more.
However, Redditch rallied well and for the remainder of the half they were the better side. Their forwards started to click and steadily they made ground with newly-introduced Nathan Marthews and warhorse Glen Francis to the fore.
Marthews scored next, finishing off a well-crafted attack by the home pack who were making their dominance felt.
Willman slotted over another penalty kick which Greyhound matched soon afterwards before Mark Green had a long run to the line after capitalising on a solid tackle, but ran out of legs after 60m.
Greyhound picked up the bonus point fourth try to extend their lead back to 14 but, undeterred, the kingfishers struck right back.
John Wormington, on as prop but playing like a flanker, made a sharp break from a maul and Josh Kearney ran a superb line to make 30m to the try-line but was forced wide, making the conversion attempt for Willman that much harder.
The kick hit the post and fell short and those missed points meant Redditch were nine points behind and failed to pick up a losing bonus point.
By such small margins games are won and lost. Redditch battled to the end but, as the clock ticked they, could not get the two scores they needed.
This was a much better performance from Redditch and there is much promise in this side. It is a much younger team than Redditch have fielded of late and with experience it should grow into a successful one.
For now though, they need to cut out silly errors and concentrate on what they do well.
On Saturday the Kingfishers visit Harbury, who sit eighth with six points, three places and five points above Redditch.