LRFC Match Report: Berkswell and Balsall 8 Ledbury 9 26th February 2019
January 26th saw Ledbury RFC travel to Berkswell and Balsall RFC and came up against a determined team still with a chance of making promotion. Playing down the hill and with the wind in the first half Ledbury kicked off facing a big pack and strong ball carrying backs knowing that they needed to stamp some sort of authority as they played with the conditions in their favour. Physical carries and probing kicks from the Ledbury team saw them dominate possession in the first half with first blood coming the way of the visitors in the shape of a penalty from the boot of Bennion. From the restart Ledbury struggled to clear their lines with an impressive display of pressure coming from the B&B pack. A resolute Ledbury defence repelled the B&B surges for the line for a prolonged period until the Berks scrum half spotted a gap at the rugby and darted through to finish from 10 meters out.
Although Ledbury conceded their heads didn’t drop, they continued to move the ball with consummate ease spreading into the wide channels on regular occasions another opportunity of points arose for Ledbury after a couple of failed attempts to drive over from set piece and again Bennion stepped up to slot the 3 and reduce the deficit to 2 points. Half time Berks 8 Ledbury 6.
Positive feedback from the Ledbury coaching staff at half time filled the men in black and white with belief and they dug deep to keep in the game against the elements throughout the second half. Berks were very much the side with the majority of possession in the first 20 minutes of the second half pummelling the Ledbury try line with physical surges from their pack but Ledbury’s line could not be broken and some huge hits from centre Tom Assall, Prop Rhys Jones and Flanker Johnny Whitting to name a few, enabled Ledbury to advance into the last 20 scalp free.
The game had yet another twist in its tale in store for the last 10 minutes when an off the ball scuffle was unceremoniously joined by the Berkswell and Balsall 13 who promptly received his marching orders from the referee reducing the home side to 14. This provided Ledbury with a renewed vigour to spin the ball wide and make use of the void left by the outside centre. Ledbury escaped their 22 with 5 minutes to play and broke the line with Hallett, who was somewhat man marked throughout the game. Continued quick ball and brisk play from Ledbury found the big B&B pack tiring and a resulting penalty at the ruck provided Bennion with his chance to win the game with 2 minutes to go. Taking his time Bennion stepped up and missed pushing it wide of the left hand upright to let B&B breathe again. The 22m restart found the arms of Aaron James, the ball back in ledbury’s possession.
Consistent play from the Ledbury 15 saw them creep ever closer to the B&B 22 and with seconds left to play the referee blew his whistle for yet another B&B infringement at ruck time to provide Bennion with a kick at redemption. 22 meters out and 15 meters from the right hand touchline this opportunity would not go begging and with the final play of the game the ball dissected the posts to increase Ledbury’s tally to 9 and therefore scooping the 4 points they needed on the road to keep in touching distance with the top 3 in the league.
A great effort from the boys shows how far they have come as a group this season and a testament to their heart and dedication to grind a result out in such difficult conditions at a difficult place to visit. The boys are rewarded with a break in league fixtures this weekend with the second team filling the void with a game at home against Worcester 3rds, the 1st XV will be back in action on Satruday Februry 9th with a visit from Coventry Welsh RFC and a VP Luncheon to boot. Tickets are selling fast, but, if you’re interested in tickets for this event please don’t hesitate to call Jamie at the club on 01531 631788 to reserve your place!