This was a big one for both teams, Kenilworth defending their unbeaten second place in the league table and Hereford defending an unbeaten home record and third in the league. Defences held sway for most of the first half, breached only by Hereford’s early try and Kenilworth’s only minutes later. Kenilworth ended the half with a three-point lead courtesy of a penalty. In the second half, the Wyesiders’ patience and their adherence to their game plan paid the dividends of a second converted try and a penalty, to give them a well-deserved victory by 17 points to 10.
A delighted Head Coach, Sean Lynn said, “The boys have belief, they had heart out there today, something which can’t be coached. They were very clinical and showed good maturity in the second half to play a territory game which forced Kenilworth to make errors. It was a team win, everyone from 1 to 18 put their all into the game and we executed the game plan that we have been working on and talking about.” Team captain, Tom Ewins added, “It was a well fought game and a hard-earned win. We had trouble in breaking down a very good Kenilworth defence, but after kicking for territory we managed to pin them into the corner and some driving play gave us our first points. Tom Starkey at full back had a good game, the front five stuck to their task and Josh Bell at number 8 made big carries and gained lots of yards. Everyone put their heart and soul into this great win for the lads. It is great to see the work done in training finally coming through, the squad is gelling well and playing as a team rather than individuals. Jimmy Evans, an 18-year-old debutant at scrum half had a great game, he really stepped up today.”
From the kick-off a knock-on by Kenilworth gave Hereford good field position just outside the visitors’ 22. The Wyesiders patiently went through the phases and within six minutes had taken a seven-point lead with a Callum Duncan try converted by Jimmy Evans. After some heavy Kenilworth pressure on the Hereford defence, Gareth Jones was shown a yellow card and during his spell in the bin the scores were levelled. The visitors opted to take a scrum from the penalty and pushed over for a try to which they added the extra points. Both sides showed a willingness to attack, but defences were generally on top and the only further score before the interval was a Kenilworth penalty. Jimmy Evans did hit the upright with a long-range penalty attempt, but at the break Kenilworth held on to their 10 points to 7 lead.
In the second half, Hereford continued to attack using a variety of tactics. Halfbacks Jimmy Evans and Connor Sullivan put in useful kicks to the corner, bombs and grubbers. Levi Hughes and Tom Starkey followed up well and both made useful breaks. The pack used catch and drive to make ground and put pressure on the Kenilworth defence. After fifteen minutes Hereford, ball in hand, took the chance to go through the phases, set up the drive and push over for Neil Clark to claim the try, Jimmy Evans added the extra points. Hereford crossed the goal line again when Connor Sullivan dived over after good work by Levi Hughes and Jordan Sheehy, but Leon Parsons’ final pass to Sullivan was adjudged by the referee to have been forward. Hereford increased their lead when Kenilworth were caught off-side and Jimmy Evans landed a penalty from in front of the posts. Hereford were patient in the final minutes and made no mistake in ending the game with a 17 points to 10 victory
This was the best and most controlled performance from a Hereford side for many seasons and will be remembered by the players for many years. The side containing five changes and an 18-year-old debutant put in a performance of heart and not a little ability. Next week they travel to Kidderminster, traditional opponents who we have not met for a long time. “Kidder” have had a tough start to the season and our boys should be careful not to under estimate the opposition, who will no doubt be smarting from a big defeat at Dudley Kingswinford.