Ludlow suffer heavy defeat against league leaders

Ludlow Advertiser: The injured Will Norton missed the match against Leek. The injured Will Norton missed the match against Leek.

Leek 38 pts Ludlow 5

LUDLOW have emerged from their toughest two-game stretch of the season with just a single bonus point to show for it, but are still in contention for promotion, insists coach Dave Irish.

Defeat by second-placed Crewe and, this week, a 38-5 loss to leaders Leek leaves Ludlow in fourth, sixteen points off the top of Midlands 2 West.

Going back-to –back against the league’s best took its toll, and coach Dave Irish found his options limited by injury going into Saturday’s clash at Leek.

Ludlow were without prop Theo Hodnett, influential scum-half Will Norton and vice captain Joe Doyle, as well as Russell Jones and Tim Breakwell.

However, with just one game left before Christmas – hosting relegation candidates Willenhall ¬– Irish is expecting his side to get back to winning ways before the break.

“We are still there or there abouts in the league,” said Irish.

“We played well – I was really pleased with our level of defence – but we had a lot of changes in key positions,” said Irish.

“Theo has been one of our most consistent performers this year, and Will’s a big player for us.”

Having fallen to a controversial late penalty against Crewe, Ludlow again found themselves on the wrong side of a series of first-half decisions that saw them ship 12 ‘easy’ points from the tee.

The Linneymen were pinged numerous times at the breakdown, with Irish disappointed in the inconsistent interpretation by Staffordshire Union referees.

Knowing they will face a repeat of the Crewe/Leek double-header towards the end of the season – the only two games Ludlow have lost all season – Irish’s side will look to bank as many points as possible in the coming weeks.

“We’re still in the mix - the quality of players is there,” said Irish.

“But it’s out of our hands now, which is annoying.

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