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Atherstone Denied Losing Bonus Point

Atherstone 1st XV 7 – 15 Redditch 1st XV

Last Updated: Mar 5, 2015 07:14pm
Atherstone, North Warwickshire
By Julie Douglas
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This game was always going to be a tough physical battle as Atherstone looked to ensure safety in the league with a home win however Atherstone found themselves on the back foot within the first six minutes of the game after an altercation led to a red card leaving them with fourteen men.  That having been said, the home side were very unfortunate not to come away with the victory or at the very least a losing bonus point despite the disadvantage in numbers.

Redditch started strongly particularly up front.  In the first test of the packs, it was Redditch that proved to be stronger taking a ball against the head.  A succession of infringements from the men in black allowed Redditch to make ground and to use a well worked catch and drive move to cross the whitewash for an unconverted try.  The subsequent kick off provided Atherstone with an attacking platform deep into Redditch’s territory however, an infringement at the subsequent ruck handed possession back to their opponents.  It was at this point that Atherstone went down to fourteen men making what was a hard game even harder.

For much of the remainder of the half the sides contested equally each attacking with ferocity and defending with grit and determination.  Atherstone worked exceptionally hard to minimise the impact of the sending off and contained the deficit to five points until in the closing stages of the half persistent infringements saw the referee award Redditch a penalty try which was easily converted to take the half time score to 12-0.

The second half saw the Ratcliffe Road outfit intensify their attacks however their opponents held firm.  As frustrations increased, so did the penalty count against the home side often providing Redditch with an easy option to defend the attack. The Atherstone pack worked hard to maintain consistent pressure on their counterparts.  Eventually their efforts were rewarded when they were awarded the put in at the scrum 10 metres out.  With the pack holding the Redditch drive, Tom Aherne picked the ball up at Number 8 and broke through the defence to score.  The subsequent conversion was at a difficult angle however Andy Redman measured his kick well to add the extras bringing the score to 7-12.

Redditch regrouped and once again launched a barrage of attacks on the men in black however excellent defence kept them at bay.  Within the final ten minutes the visitors were keeping their hosts camped in their own 22 as they sought to increase their lead to deny Atherstone of the losing bonus point.  It was further indiscipline from the home side that provide Redditch with the final points of the game with a penalty awarded against them in kicking distance from the posts.  Redditch slotted over the penalty to take the score to 7-15.  The passion of the men in black saw them respond quickly however time ran out leaving them so close but so far away.

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