The Hereford squad maintained their unbeaten away record with an excellent bonus-point win over Old Halesonians by 33 points to 27.
In a pulsating first half between well balanced opponents, Hereford, with a brace of tries had a half time advantage of 12 points to 10. For the first 15 minutes after the interval Hereford threatened to run away with the game with a pair of tries in a 3-minute window giving them a 16-point buffer. A contentious yellow card shown to Hereford’s Richard Preece offered Halesonians an opportunity to get back into the game which they promptly accepted. Seventeen points whilst Hereford were a man light, saw the hosts move into a single point lead with 8 minutes of normal time remaining. Hereford set about their task by moving the ball through the hands, finally forcing an opening to close the game off with their fifth try.
The coaches were all in good form after the win, Head coach Sean Lynn was feeling great on Sunday morning, “To be fair, the boys put in an excellent performance yesterday,” he said. Player coach, Luke Fisher said “A very good performance today from the boys, to bounce back from last week’s disappointment. The backs exposed their opposite numbers and got across the gain line. Halesonians were great in defence and made us work hard for every bit of ball we had. Great character from the boys, they dug deep and came away with the result we wanted. We now have two big games ahead before Christmas and a couple of wins will take us into the new year in a strong position.” Skipper Tom Ewins was delighted with the result and said “We played well against the wind in the first half and got the score we needed before half time. Halesonians came back strongly in the second half, they put us on the back foot, but we came through to take a good lead. Unfortunately, ill-discipline let them back in to take a narrow lead, but we rose to the occasion and closed of the game with a good try. Amongst lots of great performances, those of Matt Hill and the Duncan brothers in the pack and wingers Leon Parsons and Levi Hughes stood out.”
Playing against a fresh wind Hereford were penned into their own half for the first fifteen minutes. A good Josh Lawrence touch from a penalty took play into Halesonian territory and a catch and drive from the line-out released the ball for Tom Ewins to make ground into the 22. His off-load was picked up by Connor Sparrow who found a gap in the defence to score the first try, George Hillson added the extra points. The hosts responded by working their way back into the Hereford half, the ball was moved across the line for their winger to score in the corner. An excellent conversion levelled the scores at seven all. Connor Sparrow made a break down the right wing and his kick ahead was followed up by Leon Parsons, who beat the defence to touch down for try number 2. The conversion attempt was wide and Halesonians kicked a penalty just before the interval to take the score at the break to 10 points to 12.
The Wyesiders made a spirited start to the second period, determined runs by Ollie Hutcheson and Levi Hughes and some well-placed kicks to the corner by Josh Lawrence caught the eye. In a three-minute purple patch, a pair of tries for Ewan Duncan, both improved by George Hillson, increased the Hereford lead to 16 points. A penalty to touch set up a catch and drive for the first try and just minutes later, Duncan charged down a clearance kick and won the race to touch down for the bonus point try. Unfortunately, Hereford were then reduced to fourteen men, when Richard Preece was shown yellow and from the resulting penalty Halesonians pushed over for a converted try. The visitors’ lack of discipline was illustrated, when, not for the first time, they were penalised a further ten metres for dissent and Halesonians slotted the penalty to further reduce their deficit. Just as Hereford were returned to full strength, a Halesonian rolling maul saw them cross for another try and the conversion gave them a one-point advantage going into the final minutes. Hereford stayed with their passing game and after the ball moved from left to right and then back again, the forwards took over with a drive for the line where Rhys Proctor scored a typical scrum half try squeezing over from short range. Hillson’s conversion attempt was good and Hereford were able to celebrate a 33 points to 27 win over opponents who pushed them hard all game.
Ill-discipline nearly cost Hereford the game, but their overall performance was first rate and they clearly deserved the result. It is interesting to note that the team contained a number of players who may not necessarily be automatic first team selections. However, all acquitted themselves with really good displays, this depth of quality in the squad bodes well for the future. With the likes of James Stubbs, Sean Day, Ben Osbourne, Gareth Jones, Richard Jones and several others to come back, the coaches have a good, but far from easy selection job to do. Next week, old rivals Stoke visit Wyeside, with this week’s win over Dudley Kingswinford under their belts they should be full of confidence.
Updated 12:56 - 6 Dec 2018 by Rob Davies