LEDBURY Rugby Club were knocked out of the North Midlands Shield at the semi-final stage 27-10 by hosts Stourbridge Lions.
Having already beaten two teams from Midlands Two earlier in the competition, the visitors again gave a good account of themselves against higher-ranked opposition.
But the power of the impressive Black Country side saw them advance to the final.
The rearranged date of the tie inevitably meant a number of players were unavailable, but Ledbury started well and established a useful lead after 20 minutes thanks to two tries from winger Tom Tregaskes.
However, neither try, nor a penalty, were converted, so the Ross Road side’s period of dominance saw them lead by only 10 points instead of a potentially match-winning 17.
Stourbridge’s forwards gradually started to take control and the scores were level as the game approached the final quarter.
Ledbury created a couple of chances to stay in contention but the home team proved too strong and pulled away to book their place in the final.
There were mixed emotions for head coach Paul Rudland, who admitted: “It’s disappointing to go out of the shield with the final within our grasp.
“But we have consistently shown we are capable of competing with and beating teams from the division above us and this is an indication that we are continuing to improve.”
Ledbury, who are third in the table, return to Midlands Three West (South) action tomorrow at second-placed Old Yardleians in a game they must win to stay in the promotion race.