Redditch 22 Coventrians 15
Midlands Four West (South)
REDDITCH returned to winning ways in their first game of 2017 against a side sitting four places above them.
An early exchange of penalty kicks settled the game down after a hectic opening spell, with Sam Gladwin on kicking duty for the home side.
Redditch soaked up a severe spell of Coventrians attacks with solid tackling which blunted the forward charges and effective harassing throughout the game prevented Coventrians’ two Jamaica 7’s internationals from showing their skills.
Redditch skipper Gareth Davies rekindled some of his fly half skills when retrieving a loose ball on the halfway line before chipped a perfect kick to the wing where the ever-alert Gladwin was able to gather a kind bounce and run in unopposed.
The conversion went wide, but it was not long before he had a successful kick, converting a try scored by Will Baillon in the centre who finished off a crisp passing move in the backs who were gaining confidence as the half progressed.
The key to victory stemmed from the Kingfishers’ front eight, somewhat changed from recent weeks.
The young pack, supported by the odd old head, battled strongly with the new second row pairing of Sean Madden and Mike Adams showing great promise.
The second half was not as fluid as the first and a succession of errors from both sides broke up the rhythm, although there were moments of brilliance and clumsiness evident in equal measure.
A Coventrians attacking move put Redditch under a spell of pressure on their own line when an attempted interception was interpreted as a deliberate knock-on and Richard Beddard was invited to take a ten-minute breather by the referee.
During this spell the visitors scored their first try when they stretched the home side’s cover and found a gap out wide, although the kick was missed.
At 15-8 the game was back in the balance, but Redditch restored their two-score lead when another slick phase of passes saw Bryan Williams comfortably run in the hosts’ third try which Gladwin converted to take his personal tally to 12 points.
Covs rallied at the end, scoring with the last move of the day to give them a losing bonus point, but Redditch took the spoils and a precious four points in their battle for safety.
Everyone played their part in what was a more comfortable victory than the scoreline suggests and it was Baillon who was named man of the match for his line breaks, solid tackling and 100 per cent commitment.
On Saturday Redditch travel to play Aldridge in a North Midlands Vase Plate game.
In this form, the Kingfishers should have a good day, but consistency remains the key if Redditch are going to enjoy a positive end to the season.