By John Brett
It ain't half foggy
A first visit to Ledbury RFC, perilously close to Wales, in fact we did well to find Ledbury at all in the fog which will need to clear or its the ball with a bell inside for us.
I didn’t pack my Geiger-counter so I cannot tell if it fell from space or leaked from a government lab but there is definitely something in the soil around Ledbury that has made the kids grow twice as quickly as anywhere else on the planet. Knowing the size differential from last time it would have been very easy to cancel the fixture and the certain result but to their huge credit the lads wanted to play and treat it as tackling practice - that is a significant step up in mindset from last season - the journey continues.
Evesham started the first half brightly carrying and supporting well but the Ledbury defense was solid, in fact a Jihadi-bride would stand more chance at the UK border and despite heroic efforts by Evesham's defense the score was 27:0 by half time. It could so easily have been significantly more without some very good hits across the park by Evesham including a try saving tackle from Max, a bit high perhaps but he was arriving like he had just found a jetpack in the hedge and was out-of-control long before impact. Yellow card, 5 minutes rest for Evesham's latest signing.
The subs that Ledbury towed out of the hangar at half-time made the side bigger not smaller, we could have cellotaped our entire back row together and still not troubled the Ledbury No.8 on a see-saw, and without Fraze and Tristan this week any budget airline would happily accept most of the Evesham team as hand luggage so the challenge was really on now. Ledbury defense continued to be solid and quick off the mark but Eves stuck to the task and before long an Evesham scrum deep in Jurassic Park saw Laurie run a lovely line, pass to Elliot who cut in from the left touchline to wrong foot the defense and over the line for Eves first try.
New Zealand organise youth rugby by height and weight, England do it by age which means that the team with the biggest kids wins. Evesham's malnourished-short-arse-edness is going to be an issue some weeks until the lads either grow, fill out or get bitten by a magic spider, whichever comes first and frankly I will take any of those but until then plucky tackling and creative lines and hands are great skills to hone for when the masses eventually even out.
Another Eves scrum in the Ledbury half, ball secured, a pick-and-go by George now playing No.8 and with a couple of hand-offs he is over in the left corner. Conversion missed. Ledbury continue to tick the scoreboard taking us to full time and a score of 51:10.
There were a number of positives from today, lads all played for each other against the odds from the first minute to the last, we got 2 more tries than last time, Max only got sent off once and Ashley knows which side of the scrum to feed the ball now. It is tough these days to single out individuals from the defensive ranks which is another huge step forward, but we cannot let the opportunity pass without mentioning Elliot, Jacob H, Laurie, Charlie and Jacob C who led the tackle count this week. Best thing of all, the lads were all smiling at the end and there were no injuries to bother nursey. Homework for this week - EAT.
Ledbury for hosting the game and supplying chips
The parents for bravely venturing to the uncharted genetically-modified wilds on the far side of the M5
Big Chris for laundry duty
Half Time Oranges: we forgot the half time oranges