Evesham 23 Ledbury 8
Midlands Three West (South)
LEADERS Evesham took a potentially big step towards promotion as they claimed an impressive victory over Ledbury, who slipped from second to fourth as a result of Saturday’s result.
The eagerly anticipated top of the table clash did not disappoint the large turnout of Evesham supporters who saw their side rack up an 11th league win of the campaign which leaves them sitting a point above second placed Rugby Lions and crucially four ahead of third placed Old Coventrians who were beaten at Cheltenham North, whilst Ledbury are now five adrift of the summit having played a game more.
Having gained top spot thanks to the previous weekend’s win at Harbury, Evesham were determined to hold on to it and they did so in style as they gained revenge on the only side to have beaten them in the league this season.
Superior teamwork and some individual magic proved too much for a strong and well drilled Ledbury side, leaving Evesham skipper Nathan Chambers delighted.
“With title challengers Old Covs losing at Cheltenham North, the need to pick up all available points has been further highlighted,” said Chambers.
“With five points separating the top five sides and us still having to travel to several of our nearest rivals, the season still has plenty of excitement left yet.
“I must give my appreciation to the continued support received from all those who are coming to watch the lads.
“The team, club and supporters are inspiring a truly memorable season.”
Sam Hopkins opened the scoring on Saturday with an early penalty before, following a solid scrum and good phases of play, Evesham’s Fraser Goggin crossed thanks to a timely offload from James Roberts.
The visitors reduced their arrears through a penalty of their own to make it 10-3 at half time before another penalty from Hopkins – who seemingly finds it hard to miss off the tee – restored the ten-point lead at 13-3.
With 60 minutes on the clock, the Evesham men made the brave call to kick for the corner instead of taking the three on offer and great execution of the lineout move allowed man of the match Rob Wilkes to cross.
Again Hopkins eased over the conversion from the touchline for a 20-3 lead and the hosts were seemingly home and dry.
Nerves started to emerge though as Ledbury fought back and the visitors managed to cross for a score of their own through a neatly struck crossfield kick.
However, on a different day, the bounce of the ball may not have been so favourable to the Ledbury winger.
With time almost up, Evesham struck the final blow with a penalty on the final play.
Evesham’s next league fixture is another crunch encounter when they visit Old Coventrians on February 13.