Harris salutes Kelly after Hereford Rugby Club’s North Midlands Cup exit

Hereford RFC v Newport RFC - North Midlands Cup Semi-Final. Frank Kelly runs in a try for Hereford (5542453)

Hereford RFC v Newport RFC - North Midlands Cup Semi-Final. Chris Allman (8) (5542441)

Hereford RFC v Newport RFC - North Midlands Cup Semi-Final. Connor Sullivan (9) (5542443)

Hereford RFC v Newport RFC - North Midlands Cup Semi-Final. Jake Smithers (6) (5542449)

First published in Rugby

COACH Mark Harris hailed youngster Frank Kelly after Hereford Rugby Club’s North Midlands Cup dreams were crushed at Wyeside.

Kelly took the hosts’ man of the match plaudits for a Hereford side, missing a stack of first-team regulars, who were in Germany on the stag weekend of former player Jez Grisman.

“We’ve got a great youth set-up at Hereford and I would be stupid not to try and utilise some of the immense potential that we have coming up through our ranks,” said Harris.

“If you look at what we had on show we had Frank Kelly, who was man of the match for me, Mark Philo, Gareth Jones and Gus Lowther who both have done extremely well when they’ve been called up on this season.

“If you look at Tom Ewins, he’s been in the first team for a couple of seasons now and has finished top try scorer for this season and last, which is to his credit so if they can step it up in the summer there’s no reason why we can’t challenge again next season and beyond.”

Harris was pleased with Hereford’s season – they narrowly missing out on the playoffs in Midlands One (West) and reached the last four of the North Midlands Cup.

“The players have done me proud this season, we’ve blooded a lot of younger players this season and they’ve all come in and done really well,” said Harris.

“Our objective was to finish in the top three whilst bringing on our pool of talented youngsters and we’ve done that which is great for the boys and great for the club as a whole.”

And it is that pool of talented youngsters that Harris believes will become the core of his team for seasons to come and to hopefully propel the club to challenge for trophies higher up the league tables.

Billy Sparey, stand-in captain for last Saturday’s game against Newport, has been very impressed by the attitude and performance shown by his younger team mates

“The young lads have been brilliant all season and despite the result showed again that they are ready to make the step up to the team on a permanent basis.

“I think their enthusiasm and enjoyment for the game has rubbed off on some of us older players this season and when maybe before we haven’t had the legs in the last 20 minutes of a game the younger guys have picked us up and got us through it which has been probably one of the main reasons that we’ve had such a fantastic season in finishing third and then the bonus of a cup semi final”.

With around seven first team regulars at Grisman’s bash in Hamburg, it was always going to be a tough ask for the young Hereford side to knock out higher ranked opponents Newport (and so it proved to be.

It took until the stroke of half time for Hereford to register their only score of the game as Frank Kelly embarked on a brilliant solo run, beating five or six opponents in the process before touching down under the posts to bring the half to a close with Hereford 20-7 behind.

There were no sign of a Hereford comeback in the second half as Newport closed out the game scoring another 20 unanswered points, leaving the players disappointed on the day but proud of their achievements this season.

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