Hereford 28 Lichfield 41
Sunday March 3
Depleted Hereford go down to Lichfield but get a try bonus point
Hereford played this game a man short, after Brad Talbot was shown a red card in the 30th minute for foul play. Even so, they gave as good as they got and although always behind on the scoreboard, they remained in touch, constantly responding to Lichield scores. In the opening minutes the Lichfield backs showed the form which has taken them towards the top of the league. Some slick handling movements with the help of some below par Hereford defence produced two tries and a 14 point lead within ten minutes of the kick-off. The first try was a result of the ball being moved wide to the wing, who out flanked the defence to touch down in the corner, the extra points were added with a fine kick from a narrow angle. Some good interplay between the Lichfield backs opened up a gap for the second try also converted, this time from in front of the posts. The Wyesiders now reverted to a different game plan, driving up the middle with the forwards, before releasing the backs and after twenty five minutes won a scrum close to the visitors line. The forwards drove over the Lichfield line and number 8 Brad Talbot registered his sixth league try of the season, Ben Osborne added the conversion. Within minutes Lichfield had taken the ball into the home half and when the attack was halted the scrum half threw a long pass to the left wing who scored in the corner. The conversion was successful from another difficult angle. On thirty minutes a minor scuffle ended with Brad Talbot receiving his red card and his Lichfield opposite number getting yellow. Hereford continued to respond well to the challenge and a good run out of defence enabled Perry Pudge to draw the defence and pass to Adam Knight, in his first league game for over two years, to evade the defence and score in the corner. Ben Osborne converted from wide out. In the run up to the interval the referee produced his yellow card three times, once for Lichfield and to James Watters and Gareth Miles for Hereford. Despite this, Hereford ended the first period just one score behind at 14 points to 21.
The second half started with plenty of incident and within ten minutes the visitors added to their lead with a further converted try, when they moved the ball smartly wide to the left wing who scored in the corner. The Wyesiders though, refused to lie down. They took play into the Lichfield half, from a line-out the pack drove to the line and Ben Hillsted crashed over for a converted try to keep them in touch at 21 points to 28. Hereford continued to press and were getting on top when a careless pass inside the Lichfield 22 was knocked on, the Hereford players froze and Lichfield were able to pick the ball up and run the length of the field to register a fifth converted try. Hereford’s disappointment was compounded when with under ten minutes to go, they conceded a penalty inside their own half and the Lichfield kicker made no mistake. Hereford were not finished, the forwards took the ball into the visitors 22, Dean Powell drew a defender and passed to Ben Hillstead, he fed full back Nat Thomas who dived over for the try which Dean Powell converted This fourth try gave Hereford a bonus point which was the very least they deserved from a gritty performance. The game ended in a win for Lichfield by 41 points to 28 after they converted a second penalty in the closing minutes. The well drilled and speedy Lichfield backs threatened early on to rip the Hereford defence apart. However, when Hereford reverted to their more familiar game plan the threat was to a great extent neutralised and they were able give the visitors some anxious moments before the final whistle.