HEREFORD 43 KENILWORTH 5
Hereford is famous for many things. Its beef cattle. The Mappa Mundi, one of the world's unique medieval treasures. Small dangerous looking blokes in combats. Cider. And, to add to these, a fine tradition in powerful Rugby of which Kenilworth were the unfortunate recipients, writes Peter Jones.
Hereford Rugby Club Ground is nestled on the banks of the River Wye with the ancient Hereford Cathedral as its backdrop. Sadly, with a much weakened team, against a side standing second in the league, a religious miracle of sorts would have been required for a Kenilworth win.
In fairness, it was a brave and spirited performance by a young and underpowered Kenilworth team.
Hereford is one of our oldest fixtures as a club dating back to the times when we played only "Town" teams, well before leagues, professionalism and the like.
The story of the game, played in beautiful bright sunshine on a mild early spring day, was of continuous Hereford pressure. They were prepared to run the ball from all parts of the field and the game was superbly controlled by the Hereford No 10. They also possessed a much meatier pack, cross bred, it would seem with some of the local bovine inhabitants!
They, however, play an open and expansive style of rugby which was enjoyable to watch and justifies their position towards the top of the table.
Kenilworth defended heroically throughout the game, however, and special mention should be made of Will "Samwise" Blackmoor, Tommy Jones ,Gareth Renowden and in particular Mikkel Andresen, who tackled heroically throughout the game. Young Tyro Hector Smith sustained an unfortunate head injury early in the game after a brave run and sadly had to be replaced by Joe Jepps.
Joe Jepps had a good game in adversity launching himself head first into the opposition at every opportunity despite carrying an injury himself. He was also the scorer of Kenilworth's only points with a fine solo try.
The first team including debuts for fly half Charlie Preston and second row, Lee Robinson, both of whom were recovering after long term injuries. Lee Robinson had to be replaced early on as a chest infection and a lack of match fitness got the better of him. Charlie did well with what little possession he had and will develop into a fine player.
Hereford scored 3 excellent tries in the first half, 2 of which were converted to lead 19:0 at the break.
After the interval, the Hereford pressure continued and they added tries consistently over the next 40 minutes.
Joe Jepps responded with a fine solo try.
The match concluded with a Hereford win by 43 : 5.
Although a substantial loss for Kenilworth, their work rate throughout the game was impressive and given a relatively small 1st team squad, having half a dozen or more first choice players unavailable, the result was fairly predictable. All credit to those who played, however, and we all wish a speedy recovery for those who were unavailable or injured in the game .
A final mention to the Wye Valley Bitter which wins "PAG's (Away) Pint of the Season Award"!