Cleobury Mortimer 40 pts St Leonards 0

CLEOBURY Mortimer warmed up for Saturday's trip to local rivals Tenbury with a thumping home victory over the basement boys.

Dave Shorter bagged a brace of tries for Cleobury, while Tom Leach, Sam Sutton and Ben Howman also crossed in the one-sided affair.

Allan Shields also scored a try, kicked two penalties and two conversions for Cleobury, who are third in Midlands Four West (North).

"It was a great team effort against St Leonards and we scored six tries," said Shields.

"We led 18-0 at the break and I don't think that St Leonards got into our own 22."

Shields' men recorded a 22-7 home win over Tenbury in October but expects a hard game at Palmer's Meadow.

"Tenbury put in a good performance at Clee Hill last weekend," said Shields.

"We want all the local sides to do well - and we are hoping that Tenbury can climb up the table.

"The game against Tenbury at home was hard fought and I think they will be looking forward to us going down there."

Meanwhile, Saturday's trip to struggling Stafford will be a test of Ludlow's play-off credentials, admits head coach Dave Irish.

Ludlow have slipped to fifth in Midlands Two West (North) after their home match last weekend was washed out and Bridgnorth thumped Aston Old Edwardians 85-0.

Irish says that nothing less than a bonus-point win at Stafford will be good enough for the Linneymen.

Irish said: "Stafford are fighting a relegation battle and this desperation means that every game is a cup final for them.

"This will test our credentials as contenders for the play offs. Bridgnorth have taken advantage of our week off to leapfrog us in the table with a bonus point win so we know what we have to do to keep the pressure on them.

"Nothing less than a bonus point win is good enough. It is more difficult away from home but this is the kind of challenge we need to rise to."

Ludlow will be without Will Sparrow, who is on a skiing holiday, and Tom Rawlings who has work commitments.

But Ludlow will welcome back fit-again Joe Doyle against a Stafford side with three wins from 12 matches.

Ludlow sealed a 27-13 win over Stafford in October.

Irish said: "Our game against Stafford earlier in the season was competitive. Stafford had a solid forward pack and looked to play a tight game.

"They have not been really heavily beaten apart from their fixtures against Leek and Old Salts. They seem unable to grasp a win and finish a game and probably feel that things aren't going their way. Our job is to ensure that we keep the pressure on them. "

"We must be more ruthless if we are to continue to be contenders. Quick ball will be vital. Our backs are perhaps the most attacking in the league and we need our forwards to ensure that we keep providing them will quick go forward ball to run off."

He added: "We have seen from the first half of the season that there is very little margin for error at the top. The top four or five teams have been winning regularly home and away and we must be no different if we wish to remain in contention.