TWO goals from Andrew Richards inspired Ludlow Hockey Club to a 3-0 home win over Leamington in West Midlands League Division One.
Brendan Pratt also netted for high-flying Ludlow, who scored all their goals in the first half, against a Leamington side, who fielded only 10 men.
Vijay Chumber’s men travel to fellow title rivals Solihull this Saturday and know that all points and goals are now essential in their push for promotion.
Against Leamington, Ludlow started strongly with Matt Hall and Matt Blount providing some good movement, allowing Richards to fire the hosts ahead.
Pratt put Ludlow 2-0 ahead before Leamington hit back and rattled a post.
Richards notched his second goal of the afternoon after collecting James Pratt’s flick and firing in the net.
After the interval, Lyam and Callum Hutchinson found some great spaces to launch more Ludlow attacks but the hosts could not add to their tally.
Meanwhile, a depleted Ludlow 2nd crashed 8-0 against old rivals Market Drayton at Keele University.
The Ludlow team fell behind after 10 minutes and conceded a further four goals before the break.
Ludlow rallied round and changed tactic for a better second period, conceding just three goals to their rampant Shropshire rivals.
The depleted Ludlow side welcomed Carl Davies and George Borns, who both performed well in the difficult circumstances.
Ludlow created a handful of opportunities during the encounter, the closest they came to scoring was Haywood’s strike which rattled the outside of an upright. Ludlow field just 10 players after some late withdrawals.
Aaron Chilles was outstanding as Ludlow 3rd – boosted by Stuart Richards – suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat against Whitchurch side.
Ludlow took an early lead through Kevin Boulton but a first-half own goal and a second-half strike by Whitchurch ensured the spoils went to the north of the county.
Chilles was applauded by all his team and reflects the remarkable progress he has made since the beginning of the season.