Kenilworth returned to winning ways with a well-deserved 16-5 victory over Hereford at Glasshouse Lane, writes Sophie Freestone.
It was a welcome victory for the hosts who had suffered heavy defeats in both of their previous two matches, including a 45-10 defeat at Hereford just three weeks previously.
The match started perfectly for Kenilworth with a try after just six minutes.
Having made their way up to the Hereford 22, winger Charlie Preston broke through, brushing off two defenders to score on the right.
Hickman’s successful conversion gave the home side an early 7-0 lead, while Hereford were reduced to 14 men for a late tackle leading up to the try.
The match remained scoreless until just before the half-hour mark, with Hereford missing a number of opportunities to level due to handling errors and a strong defensive effort from Kenilworth before they eventually scored a try of their own in the right-hand corner. The difficult conversion was pulled wide of the uprights.
With the end of the first half fast approaching, Hereford once again butchered opportunities to take the lead as Kenilworth’s defence continued to hold firm. Hickman made Hereford pay for their mistakes with a penalty in the 38th minute followed by a second on the stroke of half-time to give the home side a 13-5 lead at the break.
Kenilworth made a strong start to the second half but soon found themselves on the wrong end of a Hereford attack.
Their defence continued to work well, however, and stole the ball on their own 22 for a counter attack which took them inside the Hereford half.
Just short of the hour-mark. Ks were awarded another penalty, this time on half-way, for a Hereford offside.
With the match still within Hereford’s reach, Hickman opted to go for the posts and his superb kick sailed through the uprights to give Kenilworth an 11-point cushion.
The match was then halted for just over an hour after Hereford player Will Philo suffered a serious leg injury which required urgent medical attention before an ambulance arrived.
He was later found to have dislocated his ankle and broken his tibia and fibula.
The match resumed with a Hereford scrum just metres from the Kenilworth line, but the home side’s set piece responded superbly to stave off the threat.
This was followed by an excellent kick in the 69th minute which put Hereford under pressure. Scrum-half Gaz Renowden was then unfortunate not be awarded a try with nine minutes to go after the appearing to touch the ball down before the referee gained a clear view of the play.
This did not deter Kenilworth, however, and they continued to apply pressure. And, as Hereford’s frustrations grew they were once again reduced to 14 men for a stamp which resulted in a penalty being overturned in Kenilworth’s favour.
Hickman’s attempt from the touchline was just wide of the uprights but the home side had already done enough to secure their first win over Hereford since February 2011.