Eight try win for Old Reds against Redruth
By Ben Roden
Old Redcliffians produced some excellent rugby to score eight tries and record a bonus point win over Redruth that secures them National Two South rugby for another season.
Reds won the West Country derby and in the process, completed the double over Redruth with a great all-round team effort producing a try scoring feast watched by a large crowd boosted by a former players reunion.
The hosts had first use of the slope and applied early pressure driving the visitors back to their own try line; when Redruth infringed fly half Ashley Groves landed a regulation penalty for an early lead. Minutes later, and with their first meaningful attack, it was the visitors who were in front, an overthrown lineout saw the ball bounce wickedly and Tom Notman reacted quickest to gather and force his way over, Richie Kevern converting for a 7-3 lead.
Both sides battled hard to get the upper hand and as the half progressed it was the hosts who got on top; the pack winning good first phase ball, taking possession to the Cornish sides defence and recycling quickly for the backs to attack at pace. Neat handling in the centre and from full back Henry Bird freed up winger Ezra Caven who showed his pace and strength to touch down for Redcliffians first try, Ashley Groves converting on twenty one minutes. Reds continued to attack in numbers with the pack making the initial inroads with strong carries into contact. Again the ball was worked wide and Caven was on hand to cross the line for his second, just six minutes later; the conversion from wide out off target. The home sides purple patch continued and Ezra Caven completed an eleven minute hat trick taking a well-weighted pass and carrying the ball around near the posts. Groves was successful with the extras and Reds were 22-7 in front. The hosts were in control and Redruth were struggling to contain the Bristol side and were also losing their discipline. Right on half time the home side attacked again and it was winger James Clements who scored this time, with both backs and forwards combining to create the chance. Clements cut inside the final man and ran around under the posts; with Groves on target from the tee Reds were 29 points to 7 in front at the half time whistle.
After the break, despite now playing up the hill, Reds continued where they had left off and went further ahead with their top try scorer Henry Bird coming into the line and weaving his way through to touchdown wide out on the right; Groves converting for a fourth time. Redruth threw caution to the wind, looking to salvage something from the game, taking the play down the field into Reds territory. Eventually they reduced the arrears when centre Jack Simmons found a gap and scored an unconverted try to make the score 34 – 12. Undeterred the home side continued to play attacking rugby; this time it was the pack who got in on the act. Hooker and man-of-the-match Kieran Ward, who led from the front superbly all afternoon, crossed having found a space close to the breakdown after a series of well controlled drives. With Groves converting, the lead was extended again with eighteen minutes to play.
Redruth did not give up and showed glimpses of how they could play as the second period progressed. Reds were forced back again, deep in their own territory but defended well. With the referee indicating a penalty, the visitors made the most of the opportunity and wing Tom Notman gathered a cross kick superbly right on the touchline and carried the ball around closer to the posts. The effort was converted by Kevern, with quarter of an hour still remaining.
Inside the last ten minutes Redcliffians regained field position and worked hard to force the visitors back up the hill. After a series of plays the forwards won a penalty on the left just outside the twenty two. Possession was kicked to the corner for a lineout. Reds won the ball and a neatly worked move allowed Ward to come around the front for his second five pointer of the afternoon. As the game reached its conclusion Redruth replied with wing Dean Bonds darting over, making the most of his opportunity to score the bonus point try, but it was little more than a consolation effort with just three minutes remaining.
Fittingly full back Henry Bird completed the scoring, taking a well-timed short pass at pace to burst through to bring up Red’s half century, with his twenty seventh try of the season. At the final whistle it was Old Redcliffians who were worthy winners by 51 points to 24; their National Two South status assured for next season with one fixture, the away Bristol derby at Clifton remaining.
Elsewhere in the games that affect the bottom of the table a valiant effort from Birmingham & Solihull was not quite enough as they went down 38-24 to Rams Rugby; with Worthing coming back to defeat local rivals Dings Crusaders. Barnes put up an excellent showing against Canterbury before succumbing 31-22.
Old Redcliffians second and third teams made it a clean sweep; the Second Fifteen winning a local derby against St. Bernadettes by 21 points to 7; with the Thirds also victorious beating Walcot II’s 38-24 in Bath.
Tries: Ezra Caven (3), James Clements, Henry Bird (2), Kieran Ward (2)
Conversions: Ashley Groves (3),
Penalty: Ashley Groves
Tries: Tom Notman (2), Jack Simmonds, Dean Bonds
Conversions: Richie Kevern (2)
Henry Bird, Ezra Caven, Aaron Rice, Jermaine Jones, James Clements, Ashley Groves, Kiyan Wiltshire, Craig McGrath, Kieran Ward, Jake Caulfield, Corey Talbot, Chris Pursall, Scott Parsons, Dan Fry (Captain), Ethan Doyle
Ellis Joseph, Dan Allison, Pat Zindi, Ben Fry, Christian Gervais