Bloxwich 14 Redditch 27
AFTER a long and winding road to Bloxwich due to M6 closures Redditch started the first round of the Midlands 5 West (South) League quite nervously.
The kick-off was dropped, a mystery penalty followed, a quick tap was taken and before the crowd had settled Bloxwich had scored by the posts.
Redditch then had a better period with the next 15 minutes played mainly in the Bloxwich half.
A high tackle saw Ash Mooney take the points to make it 7-3 to the hosts.
Redditch continued to apply the pressure, but two further penalty attempts saw the ball evade the uprights.
Eventually Bloxwich secured the first of many scrum penalties on the Redditch feed to win some possession.
They used this well and after sustained pressure crossed to take the score to 14-3.
From the kick off the Kingfishers worked their way up the left touchline before spinning the ball wide to right winger Ollie Stokes to cross taking the halftime score to 14-8.
With the slight slope favouring Redditch the second half ebbed and flowed, with Redditch being mysteriously penalised for wheeling the scrum on three occasions, on their put in, and in good try scoring positions.
Redditch had struggled to get their scrum right all match and injuries to the influential Bloxwich captain and Redditch winger Stokes gave coach Luke Kerins the opportunity to make some drastic changes.
Captain Matt Allen moved to outside centre and fresh replacements came on at No 8, hooker and prop.
The result was immediate as the first Bloxwich scrum went backwards under a severe drive.
As Bloxwich tired James Mills took advantage with a quick tap to score with Will Heath adding the extras to give Redditch a slender lead.
With a steady supply of scrum ball Mooney and after one dash Owen Binns loomed up in support to score on his first team debut.
Heath converted to make the win suddenly seem likely.
It was left to captain Allen to have the final word scoring wide out despite the attentions of several Bloxwich defenders.
So despite a scratchy start and obvious problems at scrummage Redditch were delighted to come away with a bonus point win to get their season under way.
Meanwhile the Exiles veterans team travelled to Warley to meet touring side Old Albanians. The score line was conveniently forgotten as coarse rugby was shown to be alive and well and a fantastic time was had by all.
Next week sees Redditch host Cannock at Bromsgrove Road with a 3pm kick off.