Newsletter Sad News
Unfortunately I have to start this newsletter with the sad news that our friend Russell Price passed away last night, peacefully with his loved ones around him. Russell played many games for Ledbury. He mainly played hooker which is surprising, not because of his size, but because he actually scored more tries than a hooker should! Russell was highly respected as a successful grower of agricultural produce. He also ran a very well known contracting business for which he claimed the “2017 Contractor of the Year”. I am sure you all join me in offering condolences to his children Tom and Lucy and to those close to him.
In lighter news, the Ist XV are currently lying in a respectable 5th position at the moment and with 4 games to go it would be great to see the boys further up the table at the end of the season. The 2nds are still at the top of their table with some cracking wins all through the season. With only 3 matches to play,2 at home, we hope that this is where they will remain, and as always, home support is everything so please try to make the effort to come and watch a game, be it 1sts or 2nds, and take in the atmosphere that only Ledbury can produce!
The 1sts played against Berkswell and Balsall after a very successful Captain’s Lunch on the 29th February where The Little Princess Trust took centre stage for the afternoon. John Wilesmith’s account of the day can be read below. John has also scribed an account of last weekend’s match v Alcester, I just hope the prediction in his last sentence proves correct!
This Friday the Pavilion Rooms host the LRFC Gold Cup day, have a look at the flyer below. Whilst you’re doing that please also have a look at the poster for our last VP lunch of the season. We have, as special guest, local author and journalist Brian Viner. His views on current topics are always entertaining and well worth the £20 on its own! So please book your table/places for the 28th March and enjoy, not only Brian but a three course lunch including cheese board followed by a thrilling match v Coventry Welsh, currently lying one place above us in the league.
Also don’t forget the Sportsman’s Dinner on Friday 17th April with Roger Utley, England and British Lions, as special guest. Again very good value at £40 per person.
LRFC u15s (last year’s very successful u14s) are doing it again in the North Midlands Cup. They are through to the semi finals which are to be played on Saturday 22nd March at Worcester. Being the only Ledbury team to have won a North Mids Cup can they do it again? Go along to support on the 22nd and be a part of it.
It is most likely, for the majority of us, that, if we were to catch this virus, we will be poorly for a little while, get better and carry on with our lives. But we have a responsibility to others in the community who are more at risk of the virus creating major health issues and even death. Now that it is confirmed that the virus is in Herefordshire, it brings the problem that bit closer. To avoid the spread of the virus we all know what we should do. It will not come naturally to many of us not to greet our friends in the usual manner but these are not usual times. Whilst we should not be in isolation unless we feel unwell we should be aware of our actions when around people and to take precautions just in case. I’m sure your friend will not take offence if you do not shake hands nor your Aunty if there’s no hug. We should all remember to wash our hands extremely well, even when they don’t need it and heed the advice about tissues and anti-bacterial gel. Let’s hope that we can get on top of the problem before it gets out of hand by all doing our best to stop the spread.
At present (!) the next home game is the 2nds v Cheltenham on the 21st March.
LRFC 1st XV League Match Report v Berkswell & Balsall Home 29 Feb 2020
Ledbury 13 Berkswell & Balsall 14
After three weekends of storm induced inaction it was welcome relief to have at last a home fixture and provide a spectacle for the assembled throng gathered for the annual Captain’s Lunch and for the Firsts to show off their new Little Princess Trust branded away kit, all part of the worthy local fundraiser in aid of the Hereford charity. Which also saw LRFC junior Jay Smith’s sponsored haircut raise over £2300, and still counting!
Having stolen an unlikely victory by three points away from home earlier in the season, Berkswell & Balsall, two places higher in the league, were keen for revenge. Poor weather conditions meant that the match was in jeopardy up to the wire, but the decision was made to play after a pitch inspection at 10am.
Playing into a strong wind, Ledbury began well, forcing a penalty which George Bennion casually converted. The larger abrasive Berkswell & Balsall pack then responded and for much of the first half Ledbury were forced on the defensive. Bignell was able to score the first try for the visitors after numerous probing attacks and winger Harrison was soon put in for a second fine try in the corner which again Bignell duly converted.
With the clock running down to half time, Ledbury finally managed to get into the opposition half and put the ever fleet Matt Hallett away for a try in the corner. So 8-14 down at half time, Ledbury were reasonably hopeful that with wind advantage, the second half would see them clinch victory.
The home side began well, camping inside the visitors 22 for 10 minutes before they were rewarded with another try for Hallett. Bennion was unable to convert which proved costly as the match now became a huge arm wrestle, both sides fighting tooth and nail for every yard of territory. There were numerous stoppages for Berkswell & Balsall injuries – entirely due to the robust contest, but they were able to hold on to their slender one point lead to the full time whistle.
In conclusion this was a match that was there for the taking for Ledbury. The visitors could have, and should have, made more of the huge possession they enjoyed in the first half to be over the hills and out of sight. It was not Ledbury’s lucky day though – the fact that the wind dropped in the second half, negating any supposed advantage, did no favours to the home side. Still a good close contest and players and spectators alike enjoyed a welcome return to a boisterous afternoon in the clubhouse.
All being well next Saturday, the 7th March, sees the rearranged home league match against Alcester. And it’s likely to be another close call having drawn 6-6 last time out!
Ledbury 21 Alcester 14
Saturday 7th March 2020
In perfect conditions, the rearranged match saw Ledbury begin well, after an early penalty just inside the Alcester 22 saw Ed Bennion score from the resulting lineout, with George Bennion converting with a great kick . As the match progressed, Ledbury continued to dominate forcing a further penalty kick which failed. However Hallett was able to make a trademark break and Alcester were adjudged to infringe again- Bennion was on target this time. Alcester were struggling to penetrate the Ledbury . Bennion kept Ledbury ticking over with another penalty before half time . in the second half resolute Ledbury kept the visitors at bay, until the yellow cards started to appear. The Alcester centre found his way through the Ledbury line with a mazy run and for the next 15 minutes Ledbury’s discipline disintegrated with numerous penalties and a further yellow card for Mence. Alcester made the most of this and were able to score a fine try in the corner, which their second row managed to convert. The last five minutes saw a huge Ledbury revival, having been on the ropes for much of the second half- Rob Gummer stormed over for the winning try in the corner and George Bennion added a further penalty to put the match beyond Alcester’s grasp in the final few minutes. In conclusion this was a particularly satisfying win in view of the poor middle section of the match where they allowed Alcester to dominate. If Ledbury can play this poorly and still win, things look good for the rest of the season.