Redditch 0 Kings Norton 41
Midlands Four West (South)
KINGS Norton secured what ultimately was a convincing victory over their local rivals on Saturday, although the Kingfishers can take solace from their performance as a team missing key players provided stern opposition in the first half of this contest.
The win saw Kings record a clean sheet for the second time in as many league matches at the start of their campaign and leaves them sitting pretty in second place with the maximum ten points.
However, in the first half the match was a tight affair, with the only impression on the scoreboard being a 30th minute penalty from the visitors’ Shane Rees.
Redditch dominated long periods of the first half, finding good territory in the first quarter of an hour in particular. Lewis Saddington deputised for brother Tom at fly half and kicked intelligently to place the pack in good field positions.
Richard Beddard stepped in at hooker and found good range as the Redditch pack performed well at the lineout, but Kings Norton held out firmly as both teams competed fiercely at the breakdown.
As the half drew on, Kings Norton started to get more into the game and took three points from Rees’ penalty as they pressurised before the break. It could have been more were it not for two try-saving tackles from Joshua Holt and Craig Martin.
The second period burst into life for Kings when Ben Manners broke through a despairing Redditch defence to score the first of his hat-trick of converted tries.
An unfortunate injury to a Redditch player – the first of several for the hosts – then held up play for six minutes, and at the restart the game continued without further score for 23 minutes as Redditch battled to contain Kings’ driving forwards.
However, as the home defence tired, they succumbed to two more converted tries in an eight-minute spell by the strong-running Manners. No 8 Ben Boyce then crashed through for Kings’ fourth converted try to gain the bonus point.
Prop Kris Fenn scored the try of the game when he gathered deep in Kings’ half before running almost the length of the pitch to score a spectacular try and Chris Hands completed the scoring with another try after which the reliable Rees missed his only conversion effort.
Redditch lost Oliver Stokes, Gareth Davies and Philip Goddard to injury and at times were down to 14 men. Stalwarts Paul Green and Stan Hull played the full 80 minutes and Mark Green impressed with his kicking out of hand.
Kings are next in league action on October 11 when take on table-topping Rugby Lions at Hopwood Park, whereas Redditch’s next league fixture is away to Rugby Lions on October 18.
Before that, the Kingfishers will hope for good news on the injury front ahead of Saturday’s Midlands Junior Vase first round game at home to Bromyard.
Tom Hodge proves that props can kick too, even if they should not! Picture by Lee Williams. (s)
Redditch captain Phil Goddard is tackled by the Kings Norton prop. Picture by Lee Williams. (s)
Richard Beddard makes a rare break through the Kings Norton defence. Picture by Lee Williams. (s)
The Kingfishers’ Josh Holt spins the ball out to the wing. Picture by Lee Williams. (s)
Kings Norton’s defence holds strong again in the second half, doubling up against Redditch centre Mark Hannah. Picture by Lee Williams. (s)