In the first half the Lions scored two tries and each time the Wyesiders responded with tries of their own. At half time Hereford led by 12 points to 10. In the second half the home team raced into a 22 – 10 lead. The Lions, who still had relegation fears, reacted with some spirited attacking football and removed their fears with a brace of converted tries, the last one in injury time.
A disappointed Head Coach, Sean Lynn said “This was a frustrating loss, one week you go away and win 35 – 14 at Moseley Oak and the next week you lose at home to a try in injury time. Rugby Lions, full credit to them, came here desperate for a win, you could see that from the off and they finished with a break away try at the end. We had a lot of youngsters out there today, they were on a massive learning curve. A guy who really stood out for me was Richie Preece, his work-rate around the park was outstanding. It was nice to see youngsters Matt Lawrence and Rhys Proctor come on, bringing an injection of energy both, were involved in the last try. We have to look at our discipline, indiscipline killed us, it let Rugby back into the game.”
The first half play was end to end, the Lions opened with an early try quickly followed by a try for Hereford. Following a lineout and a scrum Gareth Jones broke away to crash over, the conversion attempt failed. Hereford had a try disallowed when following up a Mark Philo kick ahead, Ollie Hutcheson was adjudged to have knocked on. Play continued to be even until, as the interval approached the Lions turned up the pressure and found a gap in the corner for a second unconverted try. Only minutes later Tom Ewins forced a turn-over, the ball was kicked on and Tom Starkey following up dived on the ball. Bryn Goodall added the extra points and the half ended with Hereford leading by 12 points to 10.
The competitive nature of the game continued and a Lions player and Fran Jennings were shown yellow before Bryn Goodall landed a penalty to increase the Wyesiders lead. Shortly after Hereford scored the best try of the game. Guido Suez broke clear on half-way, his pass found Matt Lawrence following up who made ground before off-loading to Rhys Proctor. Proctor fed Lewis Jordan, who drove for the Lions goal-line and laid off to Matt Lawrence, who touched down for the try. The Wyesiders led 22 -10 and looked in control, but a minor exchange saw Hereford’s James Gannon and a Lions player get shown yellow. This seemed to enliven the Lions and their speedy and elusive backs proved dangerous. The Hereford defence resisted a period of Lions pressure, but after a series of pick and drives, the visitors found a gap to score a try which they converted. Hereford continued to defend for the remainder of the game, until a searing, length of the field run, from the Lions full back split the defence for their fourth try to level the score at 22 points apiece. The Lions kicker made no mistake and took them into the lead.
This was a game that again exposed the lack of experience in the Hereford team. With 20 minutes to go the game should have been won, but some poor kicking and tackling allowed the visitors back into the game. It is not the first time this season that Hereford have lost a game in the last minute and it is something that needs to be addressed. However, the team should take comfort from three good tries, a great deal of emerging talent and a clear improvement in performance over the season. Next week the team visit old opponents, Stoke on Trent for the last match of the season. It should provide an occasion for enjoyable rugby free from the pressures of promotion or relegation.
Updated 15:45 - 21 Apr 2018 by Di Hickinbotham