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Smith ruled out of run-in
11:28am Friday 22nd February 2013 in Rugby
LEDBURY Rugby Club lost key centre Ben Smith to a season-ending dislocated shoulder in their 35-12 defeat at Old Coventrians.
The injury, suffered when Smith dived to prevent a try in the last move of the match, marred a good team performance at the Midlands Three West (South) leaders.
But the second-from-bottom Ross Road side hope for other players to return for tomorrow's important rearranged home match against Woodrush (2.15pm) when a victory could move Ledbury above their visitors.
Old Coventrians had lost only one league game all season but Ledbury made them battle throughout despite missing key forwards to injury and work commitments.
The hosts showed their ability from the outset, seeking to move the ball quickly away from the set-piece and breakdown area, and launched numerous attacks.
The visitors’ defence stood firm until speedy passing on the blind side resulted in an unconverted try after 15 minutes.
A second was added on 28 minutes and, when the hosts opened a 13-0 lead with a penalty, Ledbury needed to get on the scoreboard.
Pressure was exerted from the restart and, working off a scrum that provided good possession, they registered their first try through a forward drive controlled and finished by skipper Jock Welch with Smith converting.
A second penalty and third try extended the Coventry side’s lead but a second Welch effort just before halftime meant Ledbury were still in contention at 21-12.
Ledbury dominated the first 10 minutes of the second-half but, with their normal jumpers missing, could not capitalise on three line-outs on the Coventrians line.
The hosts then scored two quick converted tries.
e Newent have another cup final tomorrow after keeping up their Gloucestershire League Division One 100 per cent record.
They won 23-8 at mid-table Longlevens and are nine points ahead of Hucclecote with a game in hand.
Winger Brett Gardner, second row John Duffin and full-back Richard Merrett scored tries with Joe Goatley converting one and kicking two penalties.
Newent turn their attention to cup glory tomorrow at Chesham in the South West Junior Vase final (2.30pm).