LEDBURY surrendered an 18-12 lead at half-time to lose 23-18 to a power-packed Berkswell and Balsall side in Midlands Three South (West).

The hosts can take great comfort that they ran a team who were playing in the league above last season so close at Ross Road.

But they were unable to use the slope to their advantage in the second period and failed to increase their first-half tally.

Berks' huge pack dominated territory and the set-pieces in the first quarter. They also had a try disallowed for crossing.

Ledbury's lineout play was flaky, losing their first four throws and the pack was struggling with the weight disadvantage.

But their tackling was first rate and played much of the game in Berks’ half as they opened the scoring with a well-struck penalty by George Bennion from 30 metres out.

The Warwickshire side responded with a long range maul resulting in an unconverted try before another Bennion penalty put Ledbury back in front.

The home team stretched their lead when accurate passing saw Matt Hallett evade several tackles to score in the corner. Bennion added the extras.

Berks’ forwards remained on top and they were rewarded with another try after the Ledbury scrum had disintegrated. They also made the conversion.

But Ledbury had the last word in the first half when Jamie Rayfield's probing cross kick was picked up by Hallett who touched down.

It gave Ledbury a six-point cushion at the break and with the slope in their favour in the second half they had the chance to hammer home their advantage.

But in a scrappy start tip tackles resulted in yellow cards and a further minor fracas saw another Ledbury player sin-binned.

Berks took advantage with a penalty and then a try to move ahead.

Solid tackling from both teams kept the score intact until a minor misdemeanour by Arron Almond led to a penalty for Berks close to the posts which they converted to secure the victory.

Meanwhile, Ledbury second XV more than made amends with a 33-7 victory over Berkswell and Balsall.

With more than 160 attending the club captain’s lunch, hosted by Dave Wargen, and including a number of ex captains, the celebrations went well into the evening.

Saturday sees Ledbury’s first-team travel to Shrewsbury for the opening round of Midlands Senior Vase.