Rugby union
Hull the hero as Redditch win crunch clash

By Liam Moakes 26/03 Updated: 29/03 14:28

A LAST-GASP try from Stan Hull clinched a vital 12-11 victory for Redditch in their crucial Midlands Three West (South) battle at fellow strugglers Evesham on Saturday.

Hull was the toast of the day for the Kingfishers who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to spoil Evesham's Legends Day party and take a huge leap towards survival.

With seconds remaining the Redditch pack drove a rolling maul over the Evesham line and veteran Hull emerged from the pile of bodies with the ball aloft to celebrate the victory.

The four points lift Redditch a point above Evesham into ninth place and they now have a five-point lead over bottom placed Old Yardleians.

With just one side to be relegated following Keresley's withdrawal from the league, the odds of avoiding finishing bottom are now heavily stacked in Redditch's favour, although both Evesham and Old Yards do have three matches left as opposed to the Kingfishers' two.

Saturday's encounter was an enthralling one which could have gone either way and had a fittingly dramatic finale in the heat.

It was Evesham who started the livelier and ran the ball well, keeping it away from the bigger Redditch pack, and they were rewarded with the opening score which was unconverted.

The Redditch gameplan was obvious, as they used the strength in their forwards to slowly creep back into the game and gain more territory.

Tom Saddington was off target with two shots at goal before Dave Ingram got the Kingfishers' first points when the dynamic back row forward spotted a gap down the blindside and burst through to touch down.

Saddington made amends with a superb touchline conversion to put Redditch into the lead going into the break.

The second half became a slower and scrappier affair with the breakdown area becoming a mess as the heat took its toll.

Neither team looked likely to score more tries, apart from one driving run by Jack Duffy who was hauled down close to the Evesham line.

The game turned in the final quarter as Redditch suffered a sin-binning and went down to 14 men and Evesham slotted the resulting penalty from long range to regain the lead and then struck again with another penalty moments later to open an 11-7 lead.

Redditch remained patient and tried to get the ball into the opposition twenty two, desperately trying to get the forward pack within striking distance.

It seemed unlikely though as the big prop forward figure of Simon Fitzpatrick had to leave the field and Hull was forced to return to the pitch after playing the first half and thinking his game was over.

However, in the final minute a penalty allowed Saddington to kick the ball for a last-ditch lineout attempt close to the Evesham line.

The lineout and driving maul was straight from the training pitch and Evesham were left helpless as the Kingfishers' forwards pumped their legs over the line, allowing Hull to grab the glory on behalf of his pack.

Redditch are not in league action again until April 14 when they play their penultimate match at Kings Norton before finishing the season with the visit of Old Coventrians on April 21.

Evesham visit leaders Shipston tomorrow and Old Yards host Kings Norton.

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