Worcester 3rds 15 Redditch A 12
GEORGE Wood-Docker marked his return after a lengthy absence with a man of the match display as a scratch Redditch squad were edged out at Worcester 3rds.
With no Midlands Five West (South) league fixture last weekend, the Kingfishers used the friendly trip to Worcester to include some new faces and positional changes.
The result of the game was promising and the performances encouraging.
The strong wind had a bearing on the tactics once more – kicking was tricky both with and against the gale – but with ball in hand progress was slower in defence but easier to control.
The Redditch pack did not have it all their own way but played solidly enough to make it uncomfortable for the home side who struggled to take advantage of their possession.
Worcester managed to get a couple of tries to get the scoreboard ticking over but were kept honest by some resilient defence.
Full-back Wood-Docker, returning after a long lay-off, tackled everything in sight, kicking strategically and had some good runs, and Will Heath had a mazy 70m sprint hauled down short of the line.
Will Spires, at 10, probed nicely with grubber kicks going under the wind and linked well with new face Elliot Watton in the centre who tackled strongly.
In the second half, scrum-half Leo Fanthome, slowly growing into the role, gained more confidence and was able to distribute cleaner ball and was protected well by Will Baillon and Mike Allen in the back row.
Redditch scored a couple of tries from Mikey Essex and Baillon, one of which was converted by Spires, but Worcester had scored another and managed to hold on to win.
Playing with new faces is never easy but the Kingfishers side gelled quickly, linked well and enjoyed playing together.
The newer faces may have come in too late to influence a great deal for the remainder of this season, but the platform for next season – whichever league they find themselves in – is very encouraging.
There is no league game for second-placed Redditch on Saturday. They return to action on March 21 away to fourth-placed Atherstone.
This Saturday is a big day for the club with a Charity Odd Sox game being played to raise Down Syndrome awareness and funds for Pitcheroak School.
There will be stalls, inflatables and food available and the club’s hockey colleagues will be getting involved too.
A Chairman’s XV is playing a President’s XV with the eagerly-anticipated draw for teams being made in the clubhouse at 12.30pm.
See the club’s Facebook site for more details.