LEDBURY handed out a new year thrashing to local rivals Upton with an 82-7 romp at Ross Road in Midlands Three West (South).

After a string of lacklustre performances in the run-up to the Christmas break, Ledbury chose to run the ball at every opportunity in their first game of 2019.

Within minutes Matt Hallett scored after a quick lineout.

In the next 15 minutes Hallett, Chris Stokes and Cam Hunter scored for Ledbury and it was looking bleak for Upton who had no answer to the offloading and support of a rampant home side.

The risky rugby allowed Upton to burrow over for a well-earned forwards try which was converted.

But two more tries by Hallett put fourth-placed Ledbury 42-7 ahead at half-time.

Playing down the slope in the second half, Upton could not capitalise and Hallett struck again, skipping through several tackles to open the second-half barrage.

A probing kick was followed up by veteran Chris Stokes for another try to take the score to 52-7.

The demolition job continued with a further Hallett try outstripping the tired visitors.

Jamie Rayfield crossed the line after the Upton defence disintegrated once more.

A few substitutions meant regular back Hallett went to number eight only to latch onto a clear path once more to the line for his fifth try.

George Bennion contributed significantly with numerous successful conversions.

The scoreline belied the valiant Upton efforts as their pack looked dangerous throughout but ultimately there were too many handling errors in front of a gaping defence.

Ledbury visit Woodrush in eighth on Saturday while bottom-of-the-table Upton host sixth-placed Manor Park.

There is a curry evening at Ledbury on Friday, January 25, with rugby journalist Stephen Jones presenting a preview of the forthcoming 6 Nations followed by a question-and-answer session.

Meanwhile, Bromyard beat visitors Bedworth 20-17 at home in Midlands Four West (South) and have no league game this weekend.