Report submitted by Redditch RFC

Spectators thought that Redditch let an opportunity slip when away to Claverdon in the opening round of their league programme.

A pre-match storm had washed away many of the pitch markings and left a greasy ball to contend with.

That said Redditch dominated the opening 20 minutes of play with a dominant scrum and generally being 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 5.

Our level 9 players were bemused that 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 last 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 Claverdon’s 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 7 point lead was short-lived however as Sam Gladwin converted a penalty to bring the game back to 7-3.

A couple of penalties were taken quickly by Clavedon with their influential fly half making all the running to score two more tries before half time to take the score to a disturbing 21-3 to the home side.

Redditch started the second half brightly with a well worked try, but Claverdon replied virtually from the kick off to re-establish the gap.

Just as Redditch dominated the scrum, Claverdon were by now virtually unopposed in the lineout and made good use of the space to mount further attacks.

However the pattern was to continue with Redditch twice scoring and Claverdon responding with a score of their own.

Redditch had a try disallowed when the referee was unsighted. 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 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. Again they repeated the dose to take the final score to an unflattering 42-20 with Redditch not even managing to get a losing bonus point.

Redditch will learn from this defeat and be able to take those lessons into their next home game against Wednesbury in the RFU National Vase on Saturday. The seconds will open their account away to Dixonians.