Regional 2 Midlands West

Hereford RFC 11 Newent RFC 8

NEWENT went down to a narrow defeat at Hereford Saturday in a tense and hard-fought encounter after going down to 14 men, reports SIMON BARKER.

The match had been scheduled for the previous weekend, when it was more Wye than Wayside.

Although playable this week, the heavy going did not suit Newent’s expansive game, although they tried to run the ball.

The Green Army had a chance to open the scoring from the kick-off, as scrum-half Josh Preston ran back a hurried clearance, but the referee called play back for a forward pass.

Hereford missed an opportunity when they failed to secure their penalty lineout 5m out, before a good kick-chase put Newent back in home territory.

Jacob Ivell was among Newent's scorers at Hereford. Library picture by Georgina Gardiner
Jacob Ivell was among Newent's scorers at Hereford. File picture by Georgina Gardiner (Georgina Gardiner)

Josh Preston kicked a penalty to the corner, the lineout was secured and Jacob Ivell hitting the line at pace created space for winger Kyle Towers to finish wide on the right for a 5-0 lead.

A great run and kick-chase from openside Leo Oakey had Newent back in the Hereford 22 from the restart, but two penalties conceded in quick succession allowed the hosts to take play to the visitors’ 22.

Here they stayed for the best part of 15 minutes, until finally they breached Newent’s defence with a catch and drive from a 5m lineout which the visitors’ pack - depleted thanks to a yellow card for Jack Devries - were unable to stop.

With the conversion missed it was 5-5, but Newent were quick to regain the lead, as Hereford were penalised from the restart after Will Tanner turned over possession on their 22, and Ivell slotted the three points for an 8-5 lead at half-time.

Three penalties against Newent in quick succession after the restart gave Hereford a prime attacking opportunity from a scrum under the posts, but they knocked on wide on the right.

Newent then cleared downfield and chased hard to turn over possession, sparking a multi-phased attack which also foundered with a knock on, this time on the left.

A key moment occurred 17 minutes into the second half when the referee showed Will Tanner a red card after an incident at a ruck, leaving Newent without their line out thrower, scrum fulcrum and turnover specialist.

The hosts quickly capitalised, winning a penalty on Newent’s 22 which Iwan Holder kicked to tie the score at 8-8.

The visitors’ problems were compounded when Jack Devries limped off, to be followed by Kyle Towers.

Jack Devries
Jack Devries (Newent RFC)

A penalty against Newent on their own scrum ball on halfway was marched back 20m for dissent, and Holder curled the ball inside the right hand upright for 11-8 to the hosts.

An Ivell penalty from 32m to level things up then faded to the wrong side of the right hand upright.

That proved Newent’s last chance as Hereford pressed hard for further scores, the Green Army keeping them out but unable to get back within range.

Newent host Worcester this Saturday (March 16), while Ross are scheduled to visit Gloucester Old Boys.