As the weather only seems to get drearier and wetter by the day it’s nice to have a ray of good news to cheer us. I am pleased to announce that the club have managed to obtain the services of Rachel Trott who is joining the club as Commercial Manager. Rachel will be overseeing the Clubhouse operations from both a day to day perspective and organising and hosting individual events both in the Pavilion room and across our whole site. This is a challenging role but one we are certain that, given her past experience and approachable personality, Rachel will rise to. In Rachel’s own words:
“I’m very excited to be joining the club as Commercial Manager and working alongside everyone. I’ve worked in similar roles in the past, having been Commercial Manager at Hereford Racecourse and in a similar position at Worcestershire County Cricket Club. Part of my role is to improve the profitability of the club, so I’m looking forward to helping to develop the club’s sponsorship propositions, generating some new business and helping to maximise use of the Pavilion Rooms. There are so many new people to meet, so please come and say hello if you see me around and introduce yourself! If you think you’re able to assist me in any way, or have any ideas which could help, I’m always happy to chat.”
On more rugby associated matters (and that’s what we’re about) please have a read of John’s and Roger’s match reports. Some good reading and some not so good. We have the perennial problem of players not being able to travel to away matches as some are almost 2 hours drive away. This leads to unsettled sides; the 1st XV have used over 40 players this season already! Perhaps, considering the 2nds current success in the Gloucester League, the 1sts should also consider moving to play in the Gloucester area if only to make it easier for players to get to the match. Food for thought.
Our VP lunch on the 7th December was another great success with Budge Rogers giving an excellent account of rugby in the amateur era. Could you imagine a modern international side touring on the other side of the world with only 21 players for 5 weeks, travelling by ship with matches and dinners on the way, and not to be paid a penny for playing! Different days.
The first highlight of 2020 will be the player’s reunion lunch in memory of Trevor Bethell who died 25 years ago. This will be on the 25th January, so please inform Jamie or Rachel how many places you would like to book here or on 01531 631788. Ask your old playing friends along too. A weekend not to be missed with a match on the Friday night too. Partners are also invited of course. Please read JW’s invitation below.
Junior coach and all round good egg, Bruce Allcock, managed to raise over £1700 for the charity, Little Princess Trust. Bruce grew a fantastic Movember saying that if people gave over £1000 he would not only shave it off but his hair too! Photo evidence below.
Please may we take this opportunity to wish everyone involved at the club; which includes, players (old and young), coaches, parents, managers, helpers, sponsors, clubhouse staff, VPs, referees, physios, flag collectors, spectators
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
LRFC 1st XV Match Report v Berkswell & Balsall Away 23 Nov 2019
Ledbury 18 Berkswell & Balsall 15
Much akin to the last away match at Alcester in atrocious conditions, the trip to Berkswell & Balsall seemed to be a touch of Groundhog Day with incessant drizzle and mire underfoot.
From the off B&B were dominant, applying pressure after pressure within the Ledbury 22, resulting in an early unconverted try, almost followed by a speedy second, thankfully held up over the line. The opposition soon had the chance to add an extra 3 from a penalty but it drifted wide. Galvanising themselves, Ledbury retaliated with their own penalty attempt, impressively taken by Jamie Rayfield to make it 5-3.
It was not long before B&B were pressing again and from a well taken lineout on the 22 rumbled their way, brushing the Ledbury defence aside like autumn leaves, to score again. No conversion so 10-3 which it stayed until half time in spite of a probing Ledbury attacking chance meters out but losing their throw in.
The second half Ledbury had the marginal advantage of the slope but B&B had the first scoring chance with a lineout from a penalty 5 meters from the Ledbury line. They lost their throw in and soon Ledbury were exerting their own pressure with a deft chip and chase from Matt Hallett forcing a penalty. The kick bounced off the posts but the follow up was good with Ledbury going down the line to let Arthur Harris, on the opposite side, to touch down a text book try. With a harder attempt out wide Jamie Rayfield duly converted to level the score at 10-10.
This had Ledbury inspired and soon Matt Hallett was stepping up a gear again for another score down the wing to put Ledbury in the lead for the first time, but with no extras, 10-15. Needing to increase the gap Ledbury had another penalty chance after Dale Brown stole a B&B lineout and this time Rayfield’s boot was good, making it 10-18. With an over eager drop out from B&B Ledbury had the chance to clear from the 22 but B&B soon came back and won a kickable penalty but opted for the scrum, as they had been dominant all afternoon. As Ledbury scrambled to defend their lead an altercation off field resulted in a Ledbury red card but even down to 14 the defence held firm. But not for long and B&B soon crossed the line to make it 15-18, the conversion attempt bouncing off the post.
With four fractious minutes to go it seemed B&B might just clinch it but with a final penalty to Ledbury the game was won by the visitors. This was as much a moral victory in what had been a scrappy battle from the start with numerous episodes of the dark arts missed.
Meanwhile back at Ross Road the 2nd XV by all accounts managed a highly entertaining game of flowing rugby resulting in a justifiable draw 17-17 against second placed Berry Hill. Sounds like the game to have been at by choice.
The next 1st XV match is against Burbage on the 7th Dec, which also happens to be a sell-out Marstons sponsored VP lunch, with England legend Budge Rogers guest speaker. Christmas festivities may indeed be coming early!
LRFC 1st XV Match Report v Burbage Home 7 Dec 2019
Ledbury 74 Burbage 0
On a red letter day in the LRFC calendar with legendary former England captain, British Lion, and previous President of the RFU, Budge Rogers, regaling a capacity 180 guests at the Marston’s sponsored Christmas VP lunch, the rugby on show lived up to expectations, and beyond, with a first class result for the home side. The assembled throng were also honoured with a pre-lunch address from the Mayor of Ledbury, Councillor Phillip Howells, taking a welcome break, albeit brief, from the election stump.
Despite the atrocious conditions of the last month, Ledbury had managed to string together a series of hard fought victories and so with the more clement weather favouring the home side’s style, and with a huge home crowd in support, running rugby was definitely on the cards.
It did not take many minutes for Matt Hallett to latch onto a stray pass and the result was an early try for Ledbury. The dry conditions helped Ledbury immensely – enabling them to compete at the scrummage and launch No 8 James Porter into numerous bullocking runs right into the heart of the visitors’ territory. Jamie Rayfield came off injured after 20 minutes to be replaced by Dan Smith, but this did not affect the flow of the Ledbury team who thrived in the dry with plentiful possession.
As a result Ledbury were able to build a highly respectable score and by half time were nearly 40 points ahead and well out of sight. Matt Hallett tallied 4 tries in all and Ed Bennion, Charlie Barber- Starkey and Chris Simcock all crossed the line. Despite a serious leg injury earlier in the season, Toby Rogers made a welcome return to the fray and also managed a try.
Despite the barrage of scoring against them, Burbage were determined to break the duck and never gave up, only to be denied by a Ledbury side as resolute in defence as emphatic in attack. Ledbury’s respectable tally of twelve tries sees them well positioned in the league table, heading for Christmas.
Aside from the sterling action on the pitch, the club’s charitable efforts saw amazing results with Junior Coach Bruce Allcock’s Movember challenge raising a stunning sum of £1,668 for the Little Princess Trust, plus the club raised in excess of £2,400, half for the local Air Ambulance, half for the West London Zone, through Haig Club sales, gratefully promoted in conjunction with Diageo.
Plenty reason for celebration and a highly entertaining afternoon!
Next Saturday sees Ledbury away to Coventry Welsh with the seconds at home to Cheltenham North 2nds, then a final pre-Christmas first XV home match against Woodrush on 21st December.
LRFC 1st XV Match Report v Coventry Welsh 14 Dec 2019
After last weeks triumph it was back to reality for Ledbury playing away at Broadstreet RFC against Coventry Welsh , whose pitch was unplayable. Ledbury played the first half into the teeth of a howling gale and the winter sun, low in the sky. The pitch was heavily waterlogged and therefore suited to a forwards contest. Ledbury began well competing at scrum time but they fell into the fatal trap of playing too much in their own half- keeping the ball in hand led to unenforced errors allowing Welsh to keep them pinned in their own half. Welsh scored their first try after Ledbury had conceded two soft penalties and took the score to 14-0 alt half time after a tap penalty where the Welsh forwards found a gap in the Ledbury defence. The appalling state of the pitch was making the game an extremely scrappy affair. In the second half Ledbury were unable to take advantage of the wind and found themselves defending their line until Welsh found a way through again. With Seager and Bees replaced, the Ledbury scrummage disintegrated allowing Welsh to notch up two further forwards tries. In summary , the changes in team from last week cannot have helped – especially as there were quite a few youngsters who struggled against their bulkier, more streetwise opponents. The pitch and wind merely assisted the Coventry Welsh team who used the conditions to their advantage.