Exiles triumph as Vets stall

REDDITCH Exiles braved the weather to travel to Hopwood for a floodlit match against Kings Norton Veterans and ran out 27-5 winners.

Both teams had to contend with a sodden pitch and nearing freezing temperatures.

After a bright start to the game, it was Redditch who broke the deadlock though Tom Saddington.

A Kings Norton penalty had failed to find touch and Saddington took full advantage, as he plucked the ball out of the swirling winds.

After a couple of ruck moves Saddington burst through next to the posts but failed to add the conversion in the difficult conditions.

Kings Norton responded strongly by driving well in the scrums and dominating the lineout in difficult conditions.

The hosts made strong ground up the centre and as the Exiles bunched under their posts they were able to spread it wide on the right where Ricky Merrit, filling in on the wing, was no match for three attackers. The try was unconverted to leave the score 5-5.

But Kingfishers captain Craig Martin ensured the away side took the lead again as he surged 50 metres down the pitch before passing to Saddington who scored under the posts and then added the extras.

It was not long before Saddington once again fed off some driving forward play to cross for his hat-trick of tries.

After a quick half-time break, Kings Norton threw everything at Redditch but determined tackling by vintage prop Dave Joynes and his front row partners Jon Hughes and Wayne Busco stifled many of their charges up the middle leading to turnover ball.

The Norton tackling was just as fierce and the second half looked to be heading for a stalemate, until Redditch put in a cross field kick, which was swooped on by Wayne Sharp, who scrambled over for the try.

Timmy Aris got the final touch to a move as the Exiles completed a fine derby win.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the seconds were thwarted by a late cry off.

The team were well on the way to Bromyard when the call came through that a sudden deluge had made the pitches unplayable.

So they were forced to return to Redditch to take advantage of the newly installed big screen and sound system to watch Wales versus Italy in comfort and clarity.

After a week off from action in the Midlands Division Four West (South), Redditch’s first team take on Stoke Old Boys away from home on Saturday (2.15pm ko).

They will be aiming to bag a win over their struggling opponents and cement a mid-table spot.

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