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Hereford end Walsall's 10-game unbeaten run in the mud
1:02pm Thursday 9th January 2014 in Rugby
Walsall 16 Hereford 35
HEREFORD coach Mark Harris was looking forward to closing the gap on the Midlands One West leaders after shattering Walsall's 10-game unbeaten run.
Although conditions were far from favourable to their handling running game, Hereford raced to a well-deserved victory as they claimed their second double of the season.
“This was an excellent all-round performance by the whole squad," said a delighted Harris.
"It would be invidious to single out any particular player, all of them made significant contributions to winning what was a make or break game.
"We should now go on to challenge the league leaders.”
The Wyesiders opened the scoring with an unconverted try after just four minutes.
After Walsall had been penalised for not using arms in the tackle, Hereford found a good touch.
Jamie Humphreys won the line-out and the ball was moved smartly across line and Sean Day, on the wing, ran in the try from outside the 22, outflanking the defence and beating several tackles to touch down in the corner.
Hereford extended the lead shortly afterwards after Humphreys again won the ball from a line-out.
The ball was moved wide to catch the Walsall backs off side and Dean Powell converted the penalty.
Two penalties, converted by Roger Weston, took Walsall to within two points but Hereford to survive a period of Walsall pressure and, as the interval approached, Powell fed Tom Ewins who made a strong run from midfield.
When the ball ran loose, it was picked up by Nat Thomas who dived over for the second try, to which Powell added the extra points.
The home side hit back to cut the half-time arrears to six points, however, when Hereford were penalised for coming in from the side and Weston was successful with a third kick.
Hereford started the second half as they had the first and registered a try within minutes of the kick-off.
Hereford who had dominated the lineout, taking several balls against the throw, won the ball and moved it slickly wide where Josh Bell made a string run before transferring to Perry Pudge for a try under the posts.
Powell again added the extras.
Hereford pressed hard to get a fourth try and came close when Jake Smithers crossed the line after a combined forwards and backs passing movement, only to be called back by the referee for an earlier forward pass.
Hereford continued to press and forced the Walsall defence to concede a penalty which Powell converted.
After 56 minutes, a line-out close to the Walsall line was won by Jamie Humphreys, who was driven over for the bonus point try.
Walsall rallied and were rewarded with a try for Neil Pittaway converted by Weston.
But it was Hereford who had the last word as, with the final whistle approaching, a catch and drive from a line-out by Josh Walker was finished off by Jamie Bullock to register his sixth try of the season.
"This was a complete team performance," said spokesman Robin Davies.
"The pack held its own in the set pieces, dominated the line-out and were lively in the loose. The backs, despite unfavourable conditions, stuck with their natural running style which paid off with three excellent tries."