Hereford 43 Kenilworth 5: Jepps’ divine intervention is too late to save Kenilworth

Joe Jepps scored a consolation try for Kenilworth as they suffered a heavy defeat at Hereford. Picture submitted
Joe Jepps scored a consolation try for Kenilworth as they suffered a heavy defeat at Hereford. Picture submitted

Hereford Rugby Club nestles on the banks of the River Wye with the ancient Hereford Cathedral as its backdrop, writes Peter Jones.

And 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 Ks team in the face of almost continuous Hereford pressure.

The hosts were prepared to run the ball from all parts of the field and the game was superbly controlled by their number ten. They also possessed a much meatier pack as befits the town’s bovine reputation.

Kenilworth defended heroically throughout the game, however, and special mention should be made of Will Blackmoor, Tommy Jones , Gareth Renowden and Mikkel Andresen.

Despite this, Hereford scored three excellent tries in the first half, two of which were converted, to lead 19-0 at the break.

After the interval, the pressure continued and they added tries consistently over the next 40 minutes, with Joe Jepps responding for Kenilworth with a fine solo effort.

Kenilworth Colts captain Matt Slater scored four tries as his side progressed to the semi-final of the Warwickshire Cup with a thrilling 26-24 victory over Shipston Colts.

The first try came after a chip kick put the Shipston full-back under pressure, with the ball stripped and popped to Slater who scored in the corner. Zack Templeton converted from the sidelines to give Ks a seven-point lead with just over ten minutes played.

Kenilworth then turned defence into attack, with Slater outstripping the full-back to go over for an unconverted try.

Shipston came back into the game and reduced the deficit with an unconverted try.

A sustained period of pressure from Kenilworth then saw them move upfield, with Slater once again on hand to dot down under the posts.

Templeton converted to give Ks a 19-5 half-time lead.

The second half commenced with Shipston on the front foot.

They forced a penalty on Ks’ ten-metre line and when a further penalty was awarded for not retreating, the referee yellow-carded the perpetrator.

Shipston immediately made the most of their advantage to score an unconverted try, with protests from a Ks player seeing him join his team-mate in the sin-bin.

Not surprisingly, Shipston went on to add a further try, with the conversion closing the gap to two points.

Straight from the restart, Ks took out the Shipston jumper and they were down to 12, with further retribution exacted courtesy of another converted try and a 24-19 lead.

Finally restored to full strength, Ks pressed in the final stages and, after their forwards rumbled downfield, Slater broke through to score.

A howling wind made the conversion a long shot, but Templeton held his nerve to slot over the match-winning kick.