RUGBY St Andrews signalled their return to competitive action after a lengthy break with a 27-17 win away to Ledbury in Midlands Three West (South).
Tries from George Headley, Lukas Farmer and Scott Randall sealed the win, with Joe Hudson also in fine form with the boot to kick three conversions and two penalties.
With a new look coaching set up and a number of new players making their debuts including three Colts, A hard-fought win against a very competent side away from home will boost Saints’ confidence heading into their first home league game this weekend against Manor Park.
Ledbury opted to play down the slope in the first half and opened the scoring after three minutes, securing a line out close to the Saints line and driving over for the try.
Saints’ response was immediate, working through the phases until the pressure finally told allowing Hudson to convert a penalty on 11 minutes.
Ledbury extended their lead after 21 minutes, stretching the Saints defence from side to side before crossing for a converted try.
Again, Saints hit back almost immediately, pressure in the home sides 22 through the forwards produced quick ball and Hudson made a good break before finding Headley on his shoulder to cross under the posts for a try converted by Hudson.
Saints thought they had taken the lead shortly before half time but were deemed to have been held up as both sets of defence held firm.
Trailing by two points at half-time, Saints spoke of the need to continue working through the phases using the same processes and scoring opportunities would come their way.
It was in fact the home side that extended their lead soon after the restart with a try in the corner.
Saints continued to press with a succession of penalties close to the Ledbury line kicked to touch, the forwards driving for the try but were stopped illegally. A third attempt led to Saints driving powerfully for the line before debutant prop Farmer split from the back of the maul to cross for a try on the hour mark. Hudson converted to level the scores.
Saints continued to press and when Ledbury did make a half break the covering defence was soon there to snuff out the attack and the forwards worked their way back up field.
With seven minutes remaining Saints were awarded a penalty which Hudson calmly converted to give them the lead for the first time in the match.
The home side threw everything into attack but with two minutes left Saints got an all-important third try. A good kick chase from Joe Fokes was followed by a sublime offload to the supporting second row Scott Randall who galloped under the posts for the try, again converted by Hudson.
With time running out Saints secured the kick off and patiently played through the forwards before clearing to touch to a great cheer from the travelling supporters.
Man of the match was Grant Taylor.
There will also be a Vice Presidents Lunch preceding this Saturday’s game against Manor Park, anybody interested in attending should contact the club.
The seconds made the short trip to Cov Welsh and found themselves up against a very strong side to go down 57-17. They battled throughout and were rewarded with tries from Kallum Goodfellow, Ned Morley-Cottrell and ,man of the match Gauthier Arnoux with Tom Helliwell adding two conversions.