HEREFORD RFC suffered from a late barrage in the last 20 minutes falling to a 46-14 defeat at Stoke on Trent.

The Wyesiders were only two points behind before the hosts scored four late tries.

Hereford head coach Scott Sturdy said “We had a tough day at the office, but showed great character and gave them a game for sixty minutes.

"We have several positives to take from the game and look forward to building on them next week when we take on my old club Whitchurch at Wyeside."

Just three minutes into the game Stoke found touch near the Hereford line from a penalty.

The catch and drive sucked in the defence and a well-judged cross kick was collected to open the score, with a try in the corner.

Hereford responded in kind with some driving play featuring Tom Ewins and Jack Goodwin. They took a narrow two-point lead in the 23rd minute when after a lineout, the ball was moved wide and given some space, Levi Hughes made no mistake in securing the try, Cal Brayshaw converted to make it 7-5.

Some determined running, helped by some missed tackles allowed Stoke to regain the lead with an unconverted try and a penalty took the interval score to 13-7.

Nine minutes into the second half Stoke won a lineout inside the visitors’ 22 and a series of pick and goes set up a try which was converted.

From the restart, Hereford won a penalty and Stoke allowed a kick from Cal Brayshaw to bounce and Dan Stacey following up won the race to touch down.

Brayshaw converted and Hereford were back in the game and it seemed that against the odds, they might just get something from the game. Stoke saw it differently and used their big pack and determined running backs to turn up the gas. They added four more tries, three of which were converted taking the final score to 46-14.

Tom Ewins and Perry Pudge complemented each other’s game much as they did a few years ago before Perry took his sabbatical.

Scrum half, Connor Sullivan was excellent, often playing like a ninth forward and skipper Lewis Jordan led by example.

Teenage forward Toby Jones, Luke Yarranton and Jack Goodwin formed an effective back row, but Hereford missed ball carrying forwards Ollie Hutcheson, Ewan Duncan and James Marshall.

The Wyesiders now have consecutive home games against Whitchurch and Stratford.