CHAIRMAN of senior rugby Steve Burgess insists Ledbury can still push for promotion – but they have got no margin for error.
Ledbury remain third in the table after suffering their biggest defeat of the season against Old Wheatleyans, who triumphed 25-10 at Ross Road.
The Herefordshire side must win their four remaining fixtures in Midlands Three West (South), including away matches against second-placed Old Yardleians and table-topping Pinley.
Burgess said: “It’s still theoretically possible that we could finish in the top two. If we were to beat the top two and also win our other two fixtures, we would be there or thereabouts in the promotion race.”
Ledbury are eight points adrift of second-placed Old Yardleians, who they face on March 22. Burgess said: “This is our second season in this division and we started off the campaign confident that we could finish in a mid-table position.
“But, as the season has gone on, we’ve improved a lot.”
Ledbury are in North Midlands Shield semi-final action at Stourbridge Lions tomorrow.
They led 10-0 after 25 minutes against fourth-placed Old Wheatleyans and looked to be cruising in an error-strewn first-half.
But the hosts trailed 12-10 at the break and failed to muster a point in the second period as Paul Williams was held up short and Gary Nicholson lost control of the ball as he was tackled by the line.
Steven Humphreys dived over for the first try and Dave Bromage, who had earlier slotted a penalty, kicked the conversion.
But, from being in a position of strength, Ledbury were put under intense pressure in the last three minutes of the first-half and were 12-10 behind and down to 14 men at the interval.
Ronan Jones finished off forward pressure from the visitors for an unconverted try and then Jamie Rayfield was yellow-carded.
Ledbury’s defence held up a driving maul but the hosts were penalised at the resulting scrum and James Rooke crashed over with McCallum slotting the extras.
The visitors extended their lead in the 55th minute when Leo Craddock finished off a slick passing move.
McCallum’s close-range penalty kicked the Coventry club 20-10 ahead before Richard Drury raced from deep to score a superb individual try.
Ledbury attacked in the last 10 minutes and Rooke was yellow-carded but they could not break through.