LEDBURY have maintained their perfect start to the 2023/24 season thanks to a 24-3 victory over Leamington in the muddy conditions at Ross Road on Saturday afternoon.

With Storm Ciaran affecting sport up and down the country last weekend, Ross Road managed to pass the pitch inspection and despite the difficult conditions, a hotly-contested clash went ahead.

It was never going to be a classic game of free-flowing rugby with the slippery ball and heavy pitch and Leamington knocked on close to the line in the early stages to outline the challenge ahead.

Ledbury's scrum was dominant and saved them on a number of occasions and after spending a lot of time in their own half, the hosts worked their way up the pitch and began to assert themselves in the Leamington 22, where Ed Bennion was able to squeeze over for the first try of the afternoon. 

A high-tackle from Tom Assal enabled Leamington to reduce the deficit to 5-3 from the tee and that would be it in terms of points for the first-half as Ledbury were unable to capitalise on their set-piece dominance and were guilty of overplaying in the atrocious conditions.

The scrum continued to provide Ledbury with try-scoring opportunities into the second-half but it was a feed against the head that produced the hosts with a second try as a hefty shove saw the ball pop out on the Leamington line, and Iolo Bubb was able to pounce and dot down.

Bubb converted and quickly put Ledbury in charge of the game as his 40-metre kick allowed Josh Bishop to gather and stroll in under the posts. Bubb added the two and all of a sudden it was 17-3.

Leamington were chasing the game now and they certainly tested the home defence, who stood firm under plenty of pressure and with the boot of Bubb, were able to keep the visitors at bay.

It looked as if the perfect record of bonus-point wins in every game so far this season was going to come to an end but with the final play, the superb Bubb capped off a brilliant individual performance as another pin-point kick bounced up into the arms of Bishop, who beat a couple of defenders before racing over for the fourth and bonus-point try.

In horrible weather, it was another test of Ledbury's character, but they once again prevailed to keep their spot at the top of the table.

But it remains a two-horse race in the Counties 1 Midlands West (South), as Luctonians 2s have also taken a maximum 40 points from their eight games. 

The first of two encounters this season between the two title-chasers takes place on December 2 at Ross Road and what a game that looks set to be.