Hereford were forced to make several changes to the team originally selected, but the replacements all made useful contributions.
Had the Wyesiders not made their, by now expected poor start, conceding two tries within ten minutes of kick-off, the result might have been different. Both of the Newbold opening tries came as a direct result of a poorly judged kicks ahead being run back into Hereford territory. Hereford regrouped and despite an early injury to prop, Matt Frost, they managed to get onto the scoreboard with an unconverted try. Newbold registered a third try just before the interval. In the second half, play was end to end and Hereford came close to adding to their score on several occasions. A fourth Newbold try, scored whilst Hereford had a man in the bin, gave them a try bonus and took the final score to 26 points to 5.
“This was not the result that we hoped for,” said Coach Luke Fisher, “but the boys showed great character especially, during the last twenty minutes. During the first quarter we were defensively poor, allowing Newbold to run at us and put us under pressure. If you go down a couple of tries early on, to a good team like Newbold, it puts you under pressure and it took us twenty minutes to get into the game. We were then able to turn it round and put pressure on them, allowing us to attack with a bit of pace and flair and earning ourselves the right to go wide and to get onto the scoresheet. The second half was tight, both teams tiring in a very physical game. Our defensive performance was good, Gareth Jones was outstanding, he was everywhere, putting Newbold on the back foot and it was good to see Mark Philo back, adding flair in attack. Looking forward, we have to stop putting pressure on ourselves by playing so much rugby in our own 22. We need to put pressure on our opponents in their own half. We shall stay together strongly as a team and look forward to a good battle with Old Halesonians, next week at Wyeside.”
Newbold took a seven-point lead in the sixth minute when they fielded a Hereford kick ahead inside their own half. They ran it back into the Hereford 22 and from the breakdown, the ball was released and they drove over for their first try. The conversion attempt from in front of the posts was good. Just minutes later the lead was doubled, when in an almost identical situation, Newbold ran the ball back at the Hereford defence and managed to squeeze over in the corner. The conversion attempt from a difficult angle was successful. Hereford responded promptly, Bryn Goodall found a useful touch from a penalty which provided the platform for a catch and drive to be forced over the line. Gareth Jones touched down, but the conversion attempt failed. Hereford came close to scoring a second when a hack on by Jordan Sheehy was followed up by Oscar Bergqvist, who was forced into touch yards from the Newbold line. Deep into injury time, a Newbold drive into the Hereford 22 was moved wide and some slick handling enabled them to cross in the corner. Another good conversion took the half-time score to 21 points to 5.
Play in the second period was tight, both teams lost a player to the bin and neither side managed to gain complete domination. Hereford were doing well forcing and then picking up on Newbold errors. It was though, Newbold, who gained the only score of the second half, when another good handling movement saw them cross the line wide out for a try, which remained unconverted. The Wyesiders came close when they drove for the Newbold line, but were adjudged just short. They were forced to play for the final fifteen minutes a man short, when an injury to Jed Goodrum left them with only two fit front row forwards. The game had to continue with uncontested scrums and finished at 26 points to 5.
Hereford can be proud of their performance in a game which Newbold deserved to win, all-be-it with a score line that flattered. Oscar Bergqvist, starting his first game did well, as did Jed Goodrum and Nathan Boden followed up his fine game against Malvern with another five-star performance. The back five were excellent in defence and in making good from the Newbold errors, Tom Ewins led from the front and Mark Philo looked sharp. Next week’s opponents are Old Halesonians, who will be anxious to avenge the defeat we inflicted on them on their own turf.