Hereford finally managed a win at home, but were taken to the wire by a young and lively Malvern outfit which belied its lowly league position.
Hereford opened up playing their running passing game and by half time had rattled up three good tries to take a 21 points to 10 lead. Early in the second half they added another try and then an unexplainable low took over. Malvern put the Wyesiders under pressure for long periods and added two tries to take them to within 6 points. With just ten minutes remaining the visitors took a one point lead and were all fired up to hold on to it. However, the Hereford pack thought otherwise, they turned on the pressure and a 40-yard driving maul took play close to the Malvern 22, Skipper, Tom Ewins broke through in mid-field and off-loaded to Connor Sparrow who crossed under the posts. The conversion gave Hereford a hard-won victory by 35 points to 29.
“I guess you could call that a game of two halves” said Head Coach Sean Lynn. “We dug in and stuck it to the end. Tom Ewins led by example all the way through and in the last minute, he really made us that try with a line break to win the game. Full credit to Malvern, they showed grit and determination. When we were twenty-eight ten up, they came back to lead twenty-nine twenty-eight with minutes to go, but our boys dug in to take the win. We now have to think about our discipline, two sin bins again. A first win at home, the Hereford faithful will be happy with that.”
Hereford started well and enjoyed good field position, but Malvern had the better possession and took the lead with a penalty after 9 minutes. They were unlucky not to increase their lead, when Hereford failed to control a loose ball from a kick ahead, which allowed the visitors to make good ground. Hereford took the lead when a strong catch and drive took play into the Malvern half, James Stubbs made a break and got a pass off for Lloyd Gulley to register his first try in Hereford colours, Stubbs made the conversion. A further catch and drive and a powerful driving maul in mid-field produced two further tries, both credited to Ollie Hutcheson and converted by Stubbs. As half time approached Malvern won some good ball inside the Hereford 22, they moved the ball wide and their excellent full-back exploited a gap in the corner to score a try, which he converted himself to make the score 21 points to 10 at the interval.
Early in the second half Hereford increased their lead when they turned over Malvern in their own half. Lloyd Gully picked up the ball and registered the bonus point try with a 40-yard run to the line. Stubbs made the conversion. In a twenty-minute period Malvern changed the nature of the game with three tries exploiting gaps wide out in the Hereford defence, only partially caused by the loss of players to the sin bin. They kicked two conversions and entered the last minutes of the game leading by 29 points to 28. The Wyesiders took the game by the scruff of the neck and some driving forward play took them into Malvern territory. Tom Ewins made a clean break and laid-off to Connor Sparrow for the decisive try which James Stubbs converted giving him a full house of conversions.
Hereford looked good with ball in hand in the first period, but their usually tight defence looked fragile in the second half, especially when playing with less than a full complement of players. Lloyd Gully looked sharp on the wing running in a brace of tries and the centre combination of Tom Ewins and Connor Sparrow is maturing well. There is undoubtedly a lack of fitness in some of the players which showed in the second half in particular. The coaches will, I am sure, pay attention to this and to discipline in the next two weeks. There is no fixture next week followed by two more home games against Moseley Oak and Newbold. Newbold will be the tougher of the two games and Saturday’s game shows Hereford have no room for complacency.
Updated 19:45 - 12 Nov 2018 by Rob Davies