A CLINICAL first-half display from hosts Leamington proved a mountain too big to climb for Ledbury as they fell to a 21-12 defeat in their first match of 2023.

After a long Christmas break, both sides could have been forgiven for a rusty start but Ledbury actually began in promising fashion.

But despite their early territory, they were unable to convert into points and after a turnover was won by Leamington, they spun the ball quickly and raced in under the posts for the first try.

It was then quickly 14-0 as an interception saw Ledbury back under their own posts wondering what was going on.

But the home side were taking their chances and after another Ledbury attack was kept at bay, Leamington went up the other end and a missed tackle proved costly as the home side went over for a third score to make it a 21-0 lead at half-time.

The second half saw Ledbury struggling to cope with the Leamington resilient defence and a yellow card for Charlie Barber-Starkey could have been costly, but Ledbury then started to get into gear.

A galvanising Ed Bennion was immense, taking the ball into contact time and time again and after a rampaging foray into the Leamington 22, the ball was swung to Arron Almond who scored between the posts for Ledbury's first try.

With their tails up, Ledbury continued to attack relentlessly and Harry Harris managed a hard fought score after a prolonged effort but it was too little too late for the visitors in the end, as they ran out of time to find a losing bonus-point.