Redditch Mens 1st team kicked off 2019 with an important 3-2 victory away at Ludlow.
The 2 sides met last month in the knockout England Hockey Tier 3 Championships and in that game Ludlow were victorious, moving into the next round of the competition but Redditch got their revenge in this league fixture.
However, much like the rest of this 2018/19 season, Redditch were slow to get going. In the first half, Ludlow were first to every ball and Redditch were careless in possession. At half time the kingfishers were 2-0 down having registered very few chances and without having even won a penalty corner. The second half was much better, the team worked hard for each other and some individual brilliance from Pete Dawson saw him skillfully make his way into the ‘D’ before unleashing a reverse stick strike past the opposing goalkeeper.
Andy Billingham put in a good performance at centre back, distributing the ball well but it was goalkeeper Joe Cardy who was awarded man of the match by his teammates after a string of saves, including 1 from a penalty stroke, kept his team in contention.
The equaliser came midway through the half as good build up play from Harry Williams found Daniel Waite on the baseline who squared the ball to top scorer Jacob Beard to scramble home from close range.
It was Beard who scored the winner too, this time a good team goal – with the build up starting with Billingham in defence who played the ball in to veteran Chris Thomas in the centre of the field who in turn spread the ball wide to youngster Luke Baker who made great progress up the right hand side, fending off the Ludlow defenders to find Beard in the D who fired a fierce shot home – his 12th goal of the season.
The result was important in Redditch’s push for promotion from a very close MRHA West Midlands Division 1 as before the game, both teams were level on points, joint second in the league. The result puts daylight between the teams with Redditch now a clear 2nd place. Full table can be found here: www.mrha.co.uk
The result also had significance as in recent years Ludlow have had the better of Redditch. This win was the first victory for Redditch away at Ludlow since November 2009!!
Mens 4s opening game of the new year was a good run out for all concerned. Redditch got off to a strong start and looked set to dominate the game. The opposition however rallied strongly and were back in contention after the first quarter of an hour. From then on the game was evenly matched with neither side gaining supremacy. Shots on goal were few and far between from both sides despite repeated attacks. The second half followed the same pattern as the first with neither side gaining the upper hand for any prolonged period of time.
Newcomer Josh Cound played very well and will hopefully become a regular player. Harrison Young, newly arrived from the Badgers, showed great promise in his first senior game. Mention must also be made of goalkeeper Aaron Hunt who saved a penalty flick to keep the side from falling behind at a late stage of the game.
The final score was a nil-nil draw but it has to be said that this was a match that the home side should have won.