IT PROVED to be third time unlucky for Kenilworth at Hereford after the re-scheduled fixture was eventually played at the third attempt but the visitors ended up on the losing side, reports Greg Hickman.
With 15 minutes remaining Kenilworth were still very much in the match before Hereford pulled away to snatch a 45-10 win on Saturday in the Midlands 1 West divison.
A flooded pitch and an injury to a referee had postponed this fixture twice before, but the Kenilworth players were treated to sunny weather when they arrived in Hereford.
The hosts fielded full strength side as they continue their charge for promotion, while Joe Ballinger stepped in for the visitors with Will Blundell also starting in the back row.
Hereford needed a maximum five points from the match and they were soon in front thanks to a converted try on 17 minutes.
A yellow card to hooker Harry Abell for interfering with a quick tap penalty halted Kenilworth’s comeback, however a deliberate knock on from a Hereford player resulted in there being 28 players on the pitch.
Kenilworth started to get into the game and when Josh Hickman kicked into the corner for an attacking lineout, a penalty was awarded and Hickman made no mistake to make it 7-3.
The visitors were dealt a blow at the end of the half when the influential Ollie Burman was forced to withdraw due to a blood injury and he was replaced by Charlie Preston.
Hereford took advantage as a gap opened in the Kenilworth defence and scored a try under the posts in the 35th minute.
Hereford have had a tendency to finish games poorly and with Kenilworth still in the match they started the second half optimistically.
But unfortunately poor tackling again let Kenilworth down as Hereford scored their third try to make it 21-3.
Kenilworth though again came back at them and some good work by wingers Joe Jepps and Rhys Jones saw the ball recycled to Hickman who found Jepps unmarked with a cross-field kick that Jepps gratefully caught before cross for Kenilworth’s first try.
Hickman ignored the unsportsmanlike noise from part of the crowd and converted from 35 metres to make it 21-10.
The next 15 minutes saw both sides trying to exert the upper hand, but more handling errors and penalties in attacking positions frustrated Kenilworth’s attempts to close the gap.
On 64 minutes, Hereford stirred the scorers following one of their counterattacks which again broke through the middle of the Kenilworth defence to make it 28-10, securing the bonus point.
This appeared to be the point where Kenilworth lost some of their intensity and Hereford took advantage running in 3 further tries to end the match 45-10 winners.