Redditch 41 Kings Norton 14
Midlands Four West (South)
REDDITCH extended their unbeaten league run to three matches with a comfortable derby victory on Saturday which moved them into into seventh place.
The Kingfishers put together all they have recently been striving to do and played some exhilarating rugby at times to sweep aside their local rivals.
Lewis Saddington opened the scoring with a pinball run from 50m out, bouncing off would-be tacklers as he changed direction three times before scoring his try wide on the right – a little too far out for Sam Gladwin to convert.
Saddington followed this up within minutes with a perfectly judged kick to touch to gain a 5m lineout, from which the catch and drive resulted in skipper Gareth Davies adding the second score.
Gladwin, having had his sighter, was able to convert this time from a similar position.
Redditch had their tails up and were at times producing some scintillating rugby, leaving Kings stunned.
The running lines of Will Ballion and Barry Foster-Smith in particular caused all sorts of trouble for the visitors in the first half.
Taking advantage of one such 60m run by Ballion, Ash Mooney had a virtually unopposed run to score between the posts which Gladwin converted.
Ballion then scored the fourth and bonus point try from a solid scrummage as Redditch continued to tackle well – competing on the ground in the loose, linking with intelligent passing and generally outplaying their opposition.
It was, however, evident in the second half that their regular habit of switching off mentally and taking their foot off the gas had returned as they allowed Kings to claw their way back into the game.
The first wave of Kings Norton attacks came to nothing, in fact Redditch gained a penalty kick from a counter-attack and stretched their lead to 27-0 courtesy of Gladwin’s boot.
Kings were not going to lie down quietly and were straight back on the front foot as Chris Carlin scored their first try.
Not long afterwards Chris Hands had a free run from the base of a scrum 40m out and both tries were converted to leave the home supporters momentarily concerned.
With the breeze at their backs, Kings tried to pin Redditch back in their own half but they had not banked on the confident counter-running of the home back three.
Mark Green in particular did not need a second invitation for an attack, as one break narrowly failed to produce points when his reverse flick pass did not quite go to hand, but his next attempt did result in a score when Nathan Marthews supported his break for an simple run over the try-line.
Not to be outdone, Bryn Williams had a similar run in the last minute which was ably supported by Davies and then Mooney who scored. Both of these late tries were converted by Gladwin.
Although the Redditch backs scored most of the tries and caused their opposition all sorts of problems, the platform the forwards gave them should not be underestimated.
Everyone had a fine game, but the driving runs and solid tackling of Marthews earned him the man of the match accolade.
Redditch’s next league game is a trip to Pershore on March 4 when they will target a victory which could move them into the top five.