Hereford 15 Whitchurch 28
Hereford finally conceded their unbeaten home run to Whitchurch at Ledbury.
The game had to be moved from Wyeside due to the condition of the ground following the recent exceptional flooding.
Hereford kicked off, playing down the slope and within minutes were seven points down. But by midway through the first half had reduced the deficit with a try of their own. Two further converted tries gave Whitchurch a half-time lead of 21 pints to 5. Hereford enjoyed more possession and better field position for all the first period, but the story of the half was shown on the scoreboard.
In the second period Hereford fared much better.
A six-minute spell enabled them to register a brace of unconverted tries and reduce the deficit to eight points. With ten minutes to play, Whitchurch closed off the game with a fourth converted try.
Coach, Luke Fisher said,” It was a story of two halves, we started off slowly and didn’t really come out of the blocks. They put us under a lot of pressure, defensively they challenged us and our defence wasn’t very good. When we had ball in hand, we made good progress, but couldn’t capitalise and take points from pressure in the red zone.
In the second half we challenged them playing with tempo and structure. We retained the ball, scored two nice tries and clawed back ten points. I thought the lineouts went well and we challenged them when we moved the ball wide. Levi Hughes had a good game, Connor Sullivan controlled the game well and Josh Bell was the star man in defence and attack, making his tackles and carrying aggressively.
It is disappointing that we didn’t capitalise on our first half possession and turn that territory into points. Next week we shall aim to turn things round when we entertain Old Halesonians.”
Hereford made a slow start and it was Whitchurch who scored first.
Within five minutes of the kick-off they won an attacking lineout. Breaking from the catch and drive, they drove over for the first try and the conversion was good. Hereford made good use of the slope to gain good field position. They won plenty of possession, but when in the red zone the last pass seemed to go astray.
Eventually, Hereford pulled back five points, when, after some sustained pressure on the Whitchurch line, Josh Bell followed up a quick tap penalty to crash over for a try, the conversion attempt was wide. The visitors added two further tries before the interval. A Hereford defensive kick was charged down and one of the lively Whitchurch players ran through several tackles to score under the posts. Then as half time approached, a missed tackle in mid field let Whitchurch in for another try. Both tries were improved to take the Whitchurch lead to 21 points to 5 at the break.
Whatever was said at half-time, Hereford came out in the second half playing with increased tempo.
Going through the phases and retaining their structure. They scored two good tries within the space of five minutes to claw back ten points. They moved the ball wide and a miss pass to Levi Hughes gave him enough space to beat his man on the outside to race over in the corner. The second was made following two bullocking charges by centre Tom Ewins, who was able to off-load for Ewan Proctor to register his third try in six games. Neither try was converted, but Hereford had moved to within 6 points of gaining parity.
Whitchurch responded by sealing their bonus point with a well taken try. A high cross kick to the left corner was won and touched down by the wing. The kick was successful and despite some desperate attacking by Hereford, Whitchurch ran out winners by 28 points to 15.
Hereford failed to capitalise on the advantage of the slope in the first half.
The deficit of 16 points at the break proved to be too large to recoup in the second period. They showed a lack of patience and composure despite several lengthy periods in the red zone. In the second half, Hereford showed what they are capable of when maintaining their structure, before reverting to bad habits towards the end of the game. The back three looked dangerous given some space and the back row worked hard in attack and defence.
Match report Robin Davies|Photos Dave @ Wildcat Photography