You will be glad to know that the club is safe! The rain last week triggered the flood barriers around the clubhouse which saved untold damage to fixtures and fittings within. Dave Sutherland’s photo shows the extent of the flooding (above) at about 9pm. Jamie Rayfield was on hand till midnight when the waters started to recede. The barriers have been in place at a cost of £80,000 in order to protect the club from devastating floods such as those in 1997 and 2007 (if my memory serves me right). A fantastic investment, I’m sure you will agree.
Well, since the last newsletter Ledbury have not lost a match, though one team came pretty close. Please have a read of the reports below from John Wilesmith (again) and our Chairman, Roger Bateson, who is also no slouch with the pen. I have included one photo of the Alcester game if only just to show how we are missing the hawkeye lens of Jackie! (Sorry John). Perhaps with all their success we may be able to feature a match report from the 2nds, even a photo or 2? We’re still waiting!
On Sunday 10th November we observed Remembrance Day with the usual two minutes silence preceded by a reading of the Wartime RAF poem High Flight (Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr) by Roger Bateson and the laying of two wreaths by the attending ex military. This is always an emotional time, even for those of us who have no recollection of conflict, and this year was no different. The aerial photo shows the junior players and parents forming a square on the main pitch to honour the dead and wounded. The two wreaths were then put with our own unknown soldier.
I believe there are a few Six Nations tickets available though I know that the England v Wales tickets have all gone. Please get in touch with Michael Greensmith using the Six Nations link below.
For those wishing to attend the VP lunch on the 7th December and have not yet boke places I’m sorry to say that we are sold out with all 190 tickets selling very fast. Please make sure that if you are interested in the Trevor Bethell players’ reunion on the 25th January that you contact Jamie Rayfield here very soon!
This season our chosen charity to support is the Little Princess Trust. Watch this space for more information on how the club is supporting this worthy cause in many different ways.
As the festive season gets ever closer and you are bombarded with invitations to Christmas Fairs, Christmas offers and Christmas deals our newsletter unashamedly offers you the chance to help our chosen charity whilst buying your festive tree. Please have a look at the advert below if you are interested in a good quality tree at a very reasonable price from a trusted member of the club who will donate £1 to the Little Princess Trust for every tree sold!
Don’t forget tomorrow the 1sts are playing away at Berkswell and Balsall whilst the 2nds are at home to close rivals Berry Hill. Kick off 2:15pm.
LRFC 1st XV Match Report v Alcester Away 9 Nov 2019
Ledbury 6 Alcester 6
With incessant rain, and the Ref questioning whether to call it off, Ledbury travelled to Alcester with a light but mobile pack and a decent set of backs eager to play to their developing expansive game plan.
The first half saw Ledbury playing up the slope and showed early promise with some sparkling attacks, but at the first set scrum it was clear that the pack was going to have an extremely tough afternoon. The Alcester forwards pushing them back with ease to force a penalty. Alcester fly half Ed Gough drew first blood with a well struck penalty. Yet despite their complete domination of the set piece Alcester were unable to capitalise on their territorial advantage due to handling errors and some great defence from Ledbury.
Jamie Rayfield levelled the score with a well struck long distance penalty, Alcester responding swiftly with another penalty after a high tackle from Ledbury. Deteriorating conditions were not helping either side – the ball was like a piece of soap – and consequently there were many dropped passes.
Playing down the slope in the second half, Ledbury were helped when the Alcester tight head prop was yellow carded for a late tackle, allowing Ledbury to enjoy 10 minutes of parity at the scrum. Ledbury were able to attack the Alcester line but resolute defence kept them out. The garrulous lady referee showed no hesitation in issuing two further yellow cars to Alcester for late tackles, but failed to allow Ledbury the advantage after the infringements, stopping play when Ledbury looked their most dangerous. Rayfield levelled the score with another long range penalty but missed a couple more in the last quarter.
The last 10 minutes saw a fully restored Alcester team launch wave after wave of attacks from their powerful scrummage, but Ledbury’s defence held firm to the end, denying them victory. In summary Alcester should have won this match, with their dominant heavier pack exerting such attrition, but their poor tactics and discipline, plus the appalling weather conditions, meant that Ledbury were able to hang onto to a well-earned draw away from home!
Meanwhile the 2nd XV continued their impressive run with a 35-15 away win against Gloucester Spartans 2nd XV.
LRFC 1st XV Match Report v Bedworth Home 17 Nov 2019
Ledbury 39 Bedworth 7
After the drama of flood barriers and flooded pitches on Thursday it was a minor miracle that this fixture went ahead just two days later but the warmer, more clement but overcast skies saw Ledbury welcome a visiting Bedworth side.
While Ledbury yet again lacked weight in the pack it was soon apparent that with fast ball and deft interplay the backs would easily make up for lack of ballast. In the first ten minutes Jamie Rayfield put the home side in front with a well struck penalty. Not content with three points, within minutes Rayfield was in again after a sly dummy and in under the posts to score and convert. Shortly after the restart Matt Hallett saw a gap in the line and set off at pace, drawing the tackle and offloading to newcomer Alex Reilly-Jones who slipped in to touch down for his first LRFC try. Rayfield dissecting the sticks for the third time.
If not exactly reeling from the incessant onslaught, Bedworth rallied and scrambled to hold Ledbury out forcing errors and gaining scrum dominance. They did not reckon with the slipperyside stepping skills of Cam Hunter though who promptly scythed his way through from 15, evading countless tackle attempts to a dazzling score between the posts, with an easy 2 extra for Rayfield.
Ledbury then dug in and held firm until the half time whistle, regrouped at 22-0, and continued where they left off in the second half, absorbing all the pressure Bedworth put on them. Bedworth were blowing a bit and quickly lost three players to injury and from a startling break out by Charlie Barber-Starkey to within meters of the opposition line, managed to retain possession, recycle, and an astute kick across field from Rayfield allowed the unmarked wing, Aaron James, to touch down, unconverted, 27-0.
With Bedworth pressing but held up gaining a scrum on the Ledbury 5 meter line, the home side turned it over and ultimately freed Matt Hallett to hit the afterburners down the wing for a lightening score out wide. So 32-0. With a late tackle from the drop out Ledbury used the ensuing penalty to gain territory and from the resulting scrum free Dale Brown to within striking distance. Bedworth lost their scrum and Cam Hunter jigged a pass to Matt Hallett who needed no prompting to dash in for another, this time ably converted by Jamie Rayfield. 39-0.
Ledbury eased off a bit and allowed Bedworth in from a piece of scrappy play, allowing them a token score under the posts, duly converted. Within minutes the final whistle went with a well-earned victory to the home side, 39-7.
Meanwhile Ledbury 2nd XV had an equally impressive and welcome 47-12 result from a late fixture rearrangement against Ludlow 2nd XV. With the firsts away to Berkswell & Balsall on the 23rd, Ledbury 2nd XV are up against Berry Hill 2nd XV at home. Should be a good one with Ledbury lying top in the Wadworth Gloucester & District 1 league and Berry Hill 2 snapping at their heels at second. All to play for and kick off 2.15.
Our next VP lunch is on the 7th December (bring your hats) followed by the 1st XV v Burbage.
Our speaker will be the legend Budge Rogers of Bedford, England and British Lions fame.
Derek Prior “Budge” Rogers OBE, born in Bedford on 20 June 1939 and educated at Bedford School, is a former rugby union player who captained Bedford and played at international level for both England and the British Lions.
His club Bedford recovered after the Second World War and continued to play all the leading teams and had a great spell in the mid-1960s. There were three Bedford players regularly in the England team with David Perry and Rogers captaining their country. In the 1969-1970 season Bedford won the Sunday Telegraph English-Welsh Rugby Table. The Blues finest hour was probably in 1975 when Bedford, captained by Budge Rogers, beat Rosslyn Park in the final of the Knock Out Cup (now EDF Energy Cup) at Twickenham 28-12. There was a gate of nearly 18,000 which at the time was a record attendance.
He later played for the Barbarians. He managed the England under 23s to Canada 1977. The RFU organised an England tour to the Far East and England, led by Budge Rogers, played two tests in Japan and two tests in Colombo. In the mid-1980s he was chairman of the England selectors. In 2000 he was managing the England team. In 2001 he was the RFU President. In 2000 he was elected to the board of Trustees of the Lord’s Taverners.
He was also the holder of the England record of 34 caps, subsequently beaten, British Lion and Barbarian many times over, captain of England on seven occasions and the first English player to be honoured by the Queen for his services to football. His nephew, Simon Christian, played 1st XV for Ledbury RFC in 2004-5……
Upcoming England & Twickenham fixtures
12 – Varsity Match – Oxford v Cambridge
Women’s match (11:30am)
Men’s match (3pm)
If you have anything that you would like to feature in this newsletter please let us know. If you have a junior match report, event, photos or just some good old fashioned news please email it to Julian Cotton