LEDBURY received big praise from the watching crowd on Saturday after they put in a gutsy performance in defeat at league champions Luctonians II.

The hosts, who came into this game looking to maintain their perfect season record, in which they have won every game with a try bonus-point. That run actually stretches back through the entirety of the 2022/23 campaign, but Ledbury became the first side in almost two full seasons to bring that to an end.

It was a thrilling derby match that so nearly ended with a famous Ledbury win and it was the visitors who got the first try of the afternoon. 

After a scoreless, tight opening 25 minutes, Ledbury made their first foray into Luctonians territory and after mauling their way close to the Luctonians line, Tom Assal muscled his way over for a try, converted by Iolo Bubb (0-7).

Ledbury were carrying hard and really testing the home side, but they were unable to build on their lead.

Ledbury’s experienced front row of Jonathan Welch, Robert Gummer and Arron Almond were winning the battle up front at scrum time and Luctonians began conceding a succession of penalties, allowing Bubb to slot over a penalty from nearly 40 metres out (0-10).

Luctonians immediately responded with a spirited attack. Quick ball for the first time saw the ball put through the hands and a converted try in the corner for full back Morris Clementson brought the game to 7-10 at the break.

The second half saw Luctonians begin where they left off, pinning Ledbury in their own 22 and, when they found space, the fly half was able to offload to a second row forward who crashed over close to the posts, for a well worked try safely converted (14-10).

No more though as Ledbury stifled any further attack with the likes of Johnny Whitting shutting down any chinks in the armour. With 35 minutes to go, there was plenty of time for Ledbury to regain the lead and again Ledbury were winning the forward battle prompting another penalty but the stiff, unreadable breeze thwarted Bubb in adding the three.

A succession of penalties saw Ledbury opt to kick to the corner, but the Luctonians defence was up to the mark and somehow kept the visitors out. Luctonians, however, were unable to exert any significant pressure on Ledbury for the remainder of the half and it was only their discipline that kept Ledbury out.

In conclusion this was Ledbury’s most impressive performance of the season, denying Luctonians a bonus point win for the first time in two years.

They will finish the 2023/24 campaign in second behind Saturday's hosts but still have one league game left, at home to Droitwich on April 6.