Claverdon 42 Redditch 20
Midlands Four West (South)
THE KINGFISHERS were left rueing a missed opportunity as they were beaten on the opening day of the campaign.
Wrong decisions at key times proved Redditch’s downfall as they lost a game they were more than capable of winning.
A pre-match storm had washed away many of the pitch markings and left a greasy ball to contend with but, that said, Redditch dominated the opening 20 minutes with an impressive scrum and were generally competitive all around the park.
Both sides were falling foul of the new Core Values ruling from the RFU, which is being trialled down to level five. Redditch’s level nine players were bemused the referee had unilaterally introduced the ‘no appealing’ protocol in this match and it took some time before the flow of penalties reduced.
Claverdon were a tougher proposition than the previous week’s opponents Pershore and gaps in the defence were few and far between. Redditch’s offloading game was suffering, perhaps due to the greasy ball and perhaps due to the Lions’ line speed in defence.
On 20 minutes, with their scrum being driven backward and wheeling, the Claverdon No 8 picked up from the base of the scrum and ran over unopposed to open the scoring.
The seven-point lead was shortlived, however, as Sam Gladwin converted a penalty to make it 7-3.
A couple of penalties were taken quickly by Clavedon as their influential fly half made all the running to score two more tries before half time to put the hosts 21-3 to the good at the break.
However, Redditch started the second half brightly with a well worked try, but Claverdon replied virtually from the kick off to restore the gap.
Just as Redditch dominated the scrum, Claverdon were by now virtually unopposed in the lineout, aided by some loose refereeing in this area, and made good use of the space to mount further attacks.
However, the pattern was to continue as Redditch twice scored tries but Claverdon responded with a score of their own.
Redditch had a try disallowed when the referee was unsighted and then, after a sustained period of attack and a string of penalties, white line fever took over as several Redditch players tried to do it all themselves, rather than use the wide men or opt for a scrum which would almost certainly have ended in a pushover or penalty try.
After resisting that pressure, Claverdon once again broke out from their line to score a long range try before they repeated the dose to take the final score to a flattering 42-20 in their favour.
Redditch were extremely disappointed to not even take a losing bonus points for their efforts and will need to tighten up their play at home to Wednesbury in the Midlands Junior Vase first round on Saturday. The 2nds open their campaign at Dixonians.