Atherstone 1st XV 20 - 7 Evesham 1st XV

Midland 4 West (South)

Last Updated: Oct 20, 2014 09:14pm
Atherstone, North Warwickshire
By Julie Douglas
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Captain Phil Mulvey could not speak highly enough of his team after this thrilling match which saw the men in black take the spoils against all odds.  Evesham, having been relegated last season and having already put in some impressive performances this season, were clear favourites to take another scalp in their league campaign however they were faced by a revved up home side determined to cause an upset.  With no respect for the pedigree of their opposition, the Ratcliffe Road outfit dominated the match from start to finish showing strength in depth, tenacity and sheer force to close down their opponents and spoil their game plan.

Speaking after the match, Mulvey said:

Our season started today.  We got our Atherstone aggression back.  It took a bit of getting but we did it.’

The home side started with aggressive attacking play which took their opponents by surprise and quickly led to them getting on the wrong side of the referee.  An early penalty within Andy Redman’s range gave the home side the opportunity to open their account however the blustery conditions saw the ball take a path of its own rather than the intended path.  Finding their composure Evesham began to pressure Atherstone’s scoring zone but were thwarted at every attempt until a clearance kick was charged down allowing the visitors to run in a converted try.  For the remainder of the first half the men in black soaked up the forceful Evesham attack with every man making sure their tackles counted.  Far from being a one sided affair the men in black created their own opportunities to score keeping Evesham camped in their own territory.  With thirty minutes played Redman had another opportunity to put points on the board but once again the wind played its part in the kick not making its mark leaving the opponents in the lead by seven points to nil at the half time break.

As the second half started it was clear that the home side had no intention of letting their opponents take control of the game and furthering their lead.  Every attack was responded to with clinical precision as the men in black used their physicality to close down the visitors.  Frustration at not being able to execute their game plan saw the visitor’s penalty count rise rapidly.  Atherstone took advantage of the infringement by kicking with the wind to the touchline giving them a lineout just outside the five metre line.  Rob Webster stretched to collect the ball and the pack surrounded him to drive towards the line moving the ball to the back of the maul to ensure it was useable should the opposition manage to stop the juggernaut. It was James Redman who carried the ball over the line to score.  Brother Andy added the extras to bring the game level.  

Fired up by the score line, which no-one would have predicted, the Ratcliffe Road outfit stepped up the aggression and pressure.  Another penalty kick to touch saw the pack repeat the catch and drive move to put Tom Aherne in for the try.  Redman’s conversion took the score to 14-7.  Evesham increased the pressure on their hosts but superb defensive play kept them at bay.  Two successful penalty kicks from Redman took the score to 20-7.

This was a match in which this young side of mixed first and second team players came of age.  Their passion, determination, pride and self-belief saw them produce a victory for which no bookmaker would have given odds. They sent a clear message to their league rivals that fortress Ratcliffe Road is well guarded by the men in black. 


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