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Barton 30, Redditch 13

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 07, 2014

  • ON THE CHARGE . . . Matt Bloxham is just about brought down by Redditch tacklers. Rob Smith is up in support during Saturday’s convincing 30-13 victory

  • FINAL FAREWELL . . . Lee Coton (white shorts) leads Barton team out for Saturday's final home game as team coach

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BARTON ended their Midlands Four West (South) home campaign in style at Holland Sport Club.

Jon Shum, Will Simpson, Jamie Maxwell and Matt Bloxham scored the tries to see off a Redditch side who failed to worry the scoreboard in the second half.

Barton skipper Matt Bird said: “Today (Saturday) we showed what Barton Rugby Club is all about.

“It’s not just this team – there are a lot of people who make things happen and right from the off today you could feel the club pulling together.

“The patrons and supporters came out in force on what was a wet and windy afternoon – and the team responded with a performance for those guys.

“I’m especially proud of keeping Redditch from scoring in the second half, even when down to 14 men twice – a good way to finish off at home.”

Robert Smith and Bloxham stole possession to help fly-half Simpson clear his lines early on.

Barton’s well-structured attacking platform and quick rucking created chances and easy ball for scrum-half Jonathan Higgins – and an early penalty was knocked over by Bird.

The hosts were in control and after a strong scrum deep in the Redditch 22, the ball was worked down the line to David Rowe, who bulldozed over the line, only for the referee to rule that the ball had been held up.

The blow was slightly lessened when Bird slotted over his second penalty as Barton were playing advantage from an earlier infringement.

A 6-0 lead on 15 minutes soon became significantly healthier. The back row of Shaun Leek, Bloxham and Robert Smith were a real handful for Redditch, and with well-worked moves from Simpson spaces started to appear.

Redditch struck first with a penalty before Leek – voted the supporters’ man-of-the-match – twice broke the line of defence.

Quick rucking and good hands released the dangerous Shum on the left, who, with a couple of defenders to beat, stretched over for the first try of the day.

Bird added the conversion from out wide for 13-3.

As Redditch looked to rally, strong tackling from centres Lee Coton and James Carter halted any progress.

But as Barton’s penalty count rose, so did Redditch’s amount of possession.

After a good line-out and quick hands through the backs, the visitors’ right winger – who was a threat all afternoon – slid over in the corner.

The conversion and another penalty ensured that Redditch went into the interval all-square.

With orders to cut the amount of infringements ringing in Barton’s collective ears, the hosts raised the tempo in the second period.

Barton set up ruck after ruck with strong running from David Rowe and Mikey Bennett, and good hands from Higgins and Simpson.

After a good line-out, quick ball off the top, and speedy hands down the line, Simpson popped up on the right wing.

The fly-half cut inside brilliantly to slide home for an unconverted try, giving Barton just the start to the second half they were after.

Penalties continued to rack up for both sides and the referee, who struggled to keep up with the fast pace, flashed a harsh yellow card at prop Matt Bayley.

Despite being a man down, Barton then claimed their third try of the afternoon.

Another good phase of play deep in the visiting 22 saw replacement centre Maxwell through a gap.

With the full-back to beat Maxwell defied his years to sidestep before sliding home.

Bird added the extras to extend the home advantage 25-13 lead.

The right wing for Redditch was the main threat, but excellent tackles from Sam Murphy and Rowe kept him quiet.

After a good period of possession for the visitors inside the Barton 22, Leek made a thunderous tackle on the Redditch skipper.

Smith then dived in off his feet, giving the referee little option but to send the flanker to the sin-bin.

The visitors looked to take advantage, but with the vocal crowd fully behind them, Barton survived for the full 10 minutes before looking to seal a try-scoring bonus point.

With Redditch pinned inside their 22, a turnover was on the cards when the visiting skipper found himself on the wrong side.

After some ‘gentle’ persuasion from prop Bayley, turnover ball was secured and with all eyes on the back of the ruck, flanker Bloxham nipped in to break clear and dive over the line.

It completed the day’s scoring as Barton signed off their home campaign with an excellent 30-13 win.

Barton complete their 2014/15 campaign at lowly Stoke Old Boys on Saturday.

Old Boys have lost 10 of their 16 league games this season. If Barton can inflict another defeat and claim the bonus point they will be guaranteed to finish third.

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