GREYHOUND 0 PTS Ledbury 34 PTS Tries: Welch 31, 50; Nolan 34; Rayfield 40; Bourton-Pierre 80 Conversions: Park 31, 34, 40 Penalties: Park 25 ONE of Herefordshire’s smallest rugby clubs is doing its bit to tackle a big problem.

Greyhound Rugby Club are spreading the message that homophobia is not acceptable.

The Hereford-based club have joined forces with Stonewall UK and their playing shirts now carry the slogan: ‘Some people are gay.

Get over it!’ “We are the only non-gay rugby team that are involved in an initiative about homophobic bullying,” explained Greyhound chairman Barry Morris.

“We are linking with two gay sides – one in Birmingham and one in Bristol – to work with them.”

Homophobia often deters young lesbian, gay and bisexual people from playing and watching sport.

Morris said: “Rugby is defined as a macho sport and it was a big thing when former Wales international Gareth Thomas said he was gay. We are trying to show that everyone is welcome at our club – gay or straight – and that prejudice of any kind is not tolerated.”

It is Morris’ first season as Greyhound chairman and he wants to make it a family-orientated club.

He has two sons involved at Greyhound – Chris and Joe Morris.

“We are trying to introduce tag rugby and to bring back women’s rugby. We have got the old players involved in the committee and we want to increase the membership and try to build up the club.

We want to win games but we try to create a social atmosphere.

We don’t make hard and fast rules for the players.”

Morris added: “We want to give players the ownership of the club. The players make the rules and we, as a committee, put those rules in place.”

Greyhound crashed out of the North Midlands Vase at the second-round stage last Saturday after losing to higher- graded Herefordshire rivals Ledbury.

Greyhound battled hard throughout this secondround tie – in their best performance this season - but trailed 24-0 at the interval.

Ledbury were comfortable winners at the final whistle after scoring five tries in a hard-working display at the Racecourse.

Ali Park missed a 13thminute penalty for Ledbury before Greyhound’s powerful forward Mark Austin was yellow- carded for a late tackle in the 24th minute.

Park opened the scoring from the resulting penalty and Ledbury made the most of their one-man advantage to score a further 14 points while Austin was off the field.

Ledbury skipper Jock Welch dived over for the first try and Park slotted the conversion to put the visitors 10-0 in front.

Ledbury coach Paul Rudland set up the second try for Tim Nolan and James Rayfield scored the third. Park converted both.

Greyhound player-coach Pat Hill missed a 23-metre penalty and Paul Hollingsworth and Austin were both tackled inches short of the Ledbury line.

Welch crashed over from close range for his second try in the 50th minute.

But Greyhound refused to give up and continued to battle hard with Jamie Gibbons, Austin, Rob Gummer and Lee Simpson all putting in plenty of effort.

The Hereford club showed some neat touches but their final pass was often misplaced when they needed to remain composed.

Full-back James Bourton- Pierre surged 30 metres to complete the scoring in the dying minutes.

“We have a lot of injuries at the moment and once you take out those key players, you have not got people to slot in,” said Greyhound chairman Morris.

“That was the best performance of the season by far and the lads can hold their heads up. We’re just lacking that killer punch at the moment – but we’re getting there.”

● For a full match report from Saturday’s derby visit: ‘This season is all about consolidation’ LEDBURY coach Paul Rudland (pictured inset, 104424-7) is loving the buzz at the Ross Road club.

Rudland is in his first season at Ledbury since joining the club in pre-season.

Ledbury had a traumatic campaign last season and were relegated from Midlands 3 West (South) after one win in 22 games.

“We are trying to get the boys back in training and enjoying it,” said 29-year-old Rudland, who is the community development officer at Gloucester Rugby Club.

“Last year Ledbury had a lot of injuries and, because the team were not doing so well, the players did not come back.

“We have had some good results so far and it’s a good place to be.

The positiveness around the training sessions is helping the club to move on.”

Rudland joined Ledbury after a two-year stint with Tetbury, who play in Gloucester 2 – the same division as Greyhound.

He said: “Ledbury has got a great buzz – and it’s a nice facility with a fantastic junior section. It’s difficult to coach and play but sometimes some of the younger backs need an older head to guide them. When we hit the gas today we scored some quick tries and that knocked the stuffing out of Greyhound. This season is about consolidation and getting the guys to enjoy being at Ledbury.”

Ledbury’s skipper Jock Welch admitted he was apprehensive about taking over the role at the beginning of the season.

But the 27-year-old said: “I have had a lot of support from Steve Burgess, James Handley and Paul.

We are getting good numbers to training and the feeling is good. I am really happy.” He added: “We started off badly against Pinley but we have come back with some good results. We had some new players in the squad today and we’ve got some big games coming up. We’ve got experience and the whole squad is clicking well. I was happy with my brace today but I could have got a treble.”

● Former Ledbury Town footballer Luke Kavanagh is now the sports therapist for Ledbury Rugby Club. He suffered a knee injury playing for Town in August.

MATCH FACTS GREYHOUND: Weaver, Hollingsworth, Phillips, Hill, Manning, Richard Bromage, Chris Morris; Wargen, Gummer, Murphy, Bakes, Austin, Spillane, Gibbons, Simpson. Replacements: Dave Bromage, Callaghan, Braithwaite.

LEDBURY: Bourton-Pierre, Ashworth, Park, Rayfield, Nolan, Adams, Rudland; Welch, Dingle, Panter, Rollings, English, Nicholson, Hicks, Scholefield.

Replacements: Beeching, Hales.

Greyhound: Austin, 24.

Referee: Gareth Williams (Gloucester Society) STAR PLAYER: Ledbury skipper Jock Welch