Ledbury 18 Evesham 16
Midlands Senior Vase quarter-final
EVESHAM were unable to turn their dominance into victory on Saturday as they suffered cup heartbreak at Midlands Three West (South) promotion rivals Ledbury.
Despite playing most of the rugby, Evesham came out second best and will bid to put the disappointment behind them when they resume their battle for the league title at mid-table Old Wheatleyans on Saturday.
The visitors led 6-0 after 20 minutes and appeared to be in control but a lapse in concentration and a good break from the Ledbury No 8 – who linked well with his back line – allowed the home team to cross in the corner.
However, the addition of a first half try by James Roberts allowed Evesham to stretch their lead to 11-5 at the break.
The second half saw Ledbury use the wind to their advantage and very good tactical kicking and an organised kick and chase saw the home side attempt to frustrate Evesham.
The aerial bombardment and dominance of field position allowed Ledbury to convert any indiscretions into points as the efficient Ledbury full back notched a penalty and also, following some handy offloading, a converted try to put the hosts 15-11 up.
Evesham felt aggrieved and bounced back with a period of good pressure as a strong team surge allowed Zak Bailey to cross from the base of a scrum to restore their lead at 16-15.
This seemed to be enough for the visitors who, if they had had the luck of the draw on their side, seemingly would have progressed.
Unfortunately for them, frustrations set in and the final period of the game saw Ledbury earn three shots at goal as poor discipline mixed with the apparent discontent of the referee saw Evesham penalised at almost every breakdown.
Having missed the first two attempts, Evesham seemed to have weathered the storm. However, a further penalty conceded in the final play allowed Ledbury to have a last attempt and a well struck kick saw the ball sail through the posts and the following full time whistle confirmed the end of Evesham’s cup dreams.
Evesham will feel hard done by, having played the majority of the rugby and led for large parts. Credit to Ledbury, however, who certainly know how to win on their patch and ultimately implemented their game plan to a better standard in the second half.