The highly anticipated Apple Cup match between Hereford Cathedral School and Hereford Sixth Form College took place on a muddy Wednesday evening under the lights at Hereford Rugby Club, both teams took to the pitch for what would turn out to be a real battle in the mud.
The biggest game of the year had drawn a huge crowd, (800) with Hereford Sixth Form College looking to take the Apple Cup back up Aylestone hill.
HCS kicked off and kicked deep, starting what would be a fast paced and challenging half of rugby for both sides. From the kick-off, HSFC had phase after phase in the HCS 22, but some outstanding defence and line speed kept the score 0-0.
Tackle after tackle HCS did not allow HSFC to cross the line. HSFC received a penalty for all their hard work and decided to take the points; with the pitch turning into a muddy bog Ned C lined up the shot but slipped and pushed the ball wide leaving the scores level at half time.
The second half began, and HSFC brought the intensity up another level. A huge hit from Henry B from the kick-off resulted in winning back the ball and the scene was set for the next 15 minutes; HSFC testing HCS resolve in defence once again.
This time after several pick and goes from the 5m line the ball was moved to Ned C who drifted onto the pass and muscled his way through two defenders to score under the posts. The conversion was successful. 7-0
HCS Kicked off and tried to pin HSFC back in there half, but some excellent tactical kicking from Sol R & Ethan Y once again ensured HSFC were back in their opponents half and on the attack again.
A line out was stolen and the resulting drive left HSFC on the edge of the 22m line, a couple of strong carries from Tom B, Oscar J and Rory B created some space and once again Ned C powered his way through a gap, rounded the fullback and scored under the posts. Conversion successful. 14-0
The next 5 minutes of rugby saw HCS show their attacking abilities with some great carries, Monty J, Hugo L and Freddie N leading the way. A fantastic peel off the lineout put the powerful George K into space and he smashed his way through HSFC defenders eventually being stopped a few meters short of the line, the resulting pick and goes were driven back from HSFC but an accumulation of infringements led to Sam T being shown a yellow card. Eventually the pressure told and the ever-dangerous Harry C drove over from a few meters out. Conversion missed 14-5.
With 10 minutes left there was time for a comeback but the power and kicking game of HSFC kept HCS down in their own 22m and they could not fight their way out.
Some more heroic defence from Harry S & Max G turned the ball over for HSFC and Tom L thought he had danced his way through for the final score, but the officiating team called it back for a knock on. With seconds remaining the pressure was telling and HCS could not find a way to break HSFC down and coughed the ball up resulting in the final whistle.
The game was over, Hereford Sixth Form College had won the Apple Cup! The team and the crowd erupted into celebration.
After the match, Head of Rugby Kieram Hallam commented: “This was a whole squad effort, not just the boys playing but the other guys who have been pushing them every week at training too. It wasn’t a classic HRA performance but the willingness to work and defend are the building blocks of wins and the boys showed this today.
All credit to the HCS players and coaching staff, that was an incredible defensive set in the first half and fair play to the year 11 guys who showed what they can do in a big game.
Thank you to all the families, staff and students who came down to support on both sides and it’s great to see this event continue to grow.
Final thanks go to Hereford RFC for hosting and the team of workers who got the pitch playable and allowed the match to take place.”
HSFC move on to their final game of 2023 next week against St Peters School Gloucester in the Daily Mail Trophy.
If you want to be a part of Hereford Sixth Form College Rugby Academy or would like more information on this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Hereford is red and black this year, will it stay that way in 2024?