Hereford opened their season with a bonus point win over Sutton Coldfield by 23 points to 8. Both sides played attacking football right from the start, in a game typified by a high error count. The game was well balanced, but the visitors made more errors and Hereford made the most of the chances they created. As the first half progressed, Hereford increased their control and deserved a half time lead of 18 points to 3. In the second half defences took over and the scoring was restricted to a single try for each team.
Delighted Head Coach, Sean Lynn said,” A great performance, some really good tries and an outstanding defensive exhibition, exemplified by Tom Starkey covering back 50 or 60 metres to make a try-saving tackle. Tom Ewins led from the front as skipper, always on the front foot in attack or on defence and there was some really clinical stuff from the backs. The set pieces were great, Pete Barry and Matt Frost were outstanding and it was good to see newcomer Blane Parnell make a useful contribution from the bench. Overall, a bonus point win, it can’t get better than that, but there are things to work on next week and we shall look forward to travelling to Whitchurch next Saturday.”
Early in the first half the Hereford backs looked sharp and after 10 minutes Leon Parsons was tackled following a break into Sutton Coldfield territory, he got the pass off to Josh Bell who lost the ball forward in the tackle. Just minutes later, a Tom Starkey break was carried on by Josh Jensen who took the ball to the line and from the resulting ruck the ball came back to Leon Parsons, who drove over for the opening try. The conversion attempt from wide out was not successful. Sutton took play into the Hereford half and forced a penalty which Ben Morgan converted. Hereford followed this with a copy book try. Tom Ewins made ground in mid-field before off-loading to Leon Parsons who made a good run and was tackled inside the Sutton 22. From the resulting ruck, scrum half Ollie Llewellyn fed quick ball and the ball travelled across the line to Tom Starkey who touched down in the corner, the conversion attempt was just wide. The Hereford pack increased their control of the set-pieces as the half progressed and the pressure produced a penalty which Bryn Goodall converted to take the score to 13 points to 3. The final act of the first period brought another text book try, this time from the forwards. Josh Bell won a lineout inside the Sutton 22, the forward drive took the ball to the line and Lewis Jordan touched down for the third unconverted try.
Tom Slater received a yellow card for a high tackle, but the Wyesiders continued to press and the forwards, with Josh Bell and Ewan Duncan prominent, put the visiting defence under pressure. Ollie Hutcheson won a Hereford lineout and Josh Bell led the forward drive, before the ball was moved out for debutant Freddie Spencer to race over in the corner. The conversion attempt was wide. Sutton did not give up and both Leon Parsons and Tom Starkey were forced to make try-saving tackles in a defence that was tested to its limit. Eventually the pressure told and with just minutes remaining, the Sutton pack forced its way over the Hereford line for Harry Moxon to claim the try, the conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
This was a good Hereford performance from a side containing five players making their first team debuts. Yes, there were things that need to be improved on the training paddock, but the overall performance should give rise to confidence for the season ahead. Next week we visit Whitchurch, never an easy place to get a result so the boys may well need to move up a gear.