DEBUTANTS Ben Bywater and Sam Hartley say they cannot wait to get back into the ring after outstanding displays in Ludlow Amateur Boxing Club’s hugely successful dinner show.

Sixteen-year-old Bywater, from Onibury, deservedly edged a majority decision and was involved in the best junior contest, at Ludlow Racecourse.

Hartley, a 23-year-old farmer from Church Stretton, controversially lost out to a majority decision but was named in the best senior bout.

Charlie Barnfield had an evening he won’t forget – the 18-year-old Ludlovian achieved his first success at the 10th time of asking.

Bywater gained a majority verdict over Kings Thorpe’s Jey Meakins in the penultimate bout and raised his arms when the final bell sounded.

He said: “I had been training very hard for the fight for the last six months.

“I play rugby in the second-row for Luctonians under-16s. I have been doing that since I was 11.

“But I love the boxing – and I will do it again. My family and friends were backing me and, hopefully, I made them proud. I had a slight doubt that I might not have done enough and I knew it was going to be close.”

The Ludlow High School pupil added: “Scoring a try in rugby is great but it’s a team effort. When you win a boxing match, it feels 10 times better.”

Hartley gave an all-action showing against Brooklands’ Mackenzie Stevens and caught his taller opponent with some vicious uppercuts.

“I have played a bit of rugby for Ludlow and Church Stretton and I have done a bit of weighlifting – but the boxing was fantastic,” he said.

“I need to improve my stamina but I loved it. My opponent was tall but I found some nice uppercuts and the jab worked well. Towards the end I thought I got the edge. I got him with a hook to the body and I wished I had done it sooner. I will be back in the ring again soon.”

The pair are members of Ludlow Amateur Boxing Club, which organised the event and enjoyed four victories from six contests in last Friday’s thrilling 13-bout show.

Club chairman Tony Sewell said: “The energy and support was fantastic and it was a great atmosphere and we can’t wait until our next show in October. Chris Preece rounded off the show with a win and everyone was on their feet, shouting and cheering.”

Wigmore High School pupil Luke Cullwick, who competes for Ledbury Boxing Club, secured a unanimous decision over Telford and Wrekin’s Luis Martin.

The only disappointment was for Ludlow’s West Midlands champion, James Key, whose scheduled opponent was unwell and not able to make the show.

Chadd Woodfield, with dad Colin in his corner, achieved Ludlow’s first victory of the night.

Woodfield also inflicted a standing eight-count on Hulton’s Alexander Jackson as he claimed a unanimous decision.

Woodfield, 14, said: “I really enjoyed it – it was a brilliant fight. I could hear my mum shouting and it pushed me on. My dad gave me a good pep talk and I just went for it.

“It was only the second standing-eight count that I have given an opponent and it was my 26th bout.”

He added: “In the first round, I was a bit sloppy, but I had great support. It was the first time my girlfriend, Becky Lockyer, had come to watch me fight.”

Ludlow College student Barnfield, whose dad, Wayne, filmed the show, was delighted to achieve his maiden triumph, with a majority verdict against Brooklands’ Matthew Garvey.

“I have had 10 fights altogether and that was my first win,” he said. “To get my first win means everything to me. I had been thinking about stopping but I am so glad I have carried on. I couldn’t have won the fight without all my supporters.”

Tom Key, from Cleobury, returned to the ring after an 18-month exile and lost a unanimous decision against Solihull’s Tommy Larkin.

“I wasn’t as sharp as I would like to have been,” said the 25-year-old. “But I hadn’t been in the ring for 18 months. I gave everything.”

The popular Chris Preece sent the home fans happy with a unanimous verdict over Brooklands’ Ashley McManus, in another three-round cracker.

“My opponent remained quite fit until towards the end of the third round,” said Preece. “I have won twice before on home shows – and it’s a great feeling. I am hoping to enter the novice championships at the beginning of next season.”