LUDLOW chalked up their first victory of the new Midlands Two West (North) season after they edged past local rivals Cleobury Mortimer 15-13.

And head coach Mikey Jones admitted it was a huge relief to see Will Sparrow’s match-winning penalty sail between the posts.

“It’s a bit of a release to get that first win in the league," he said.

“And for it to come in such a big game against our neighbours made it even more special.

“It has been a tough start to the season and we maybe underestimated how big the step up was to this level following our promotion.

"But we’ve changed the system – the way we defend – and we’re beginning to shut teams down.”

Ludlow’s victory came thanks to five penalties from Sparrow that were awarded because of the pressure put on the visiting side.

Jones added: “It was a tight game.

"We dominated for most of the match but were guilty of giving them easy outs – giving away silly penalties when we were pressing close to the line.

“The weather conditions didn’t help the teams with the rain putting an end to flowing rugby because the ball was so wet.

"But our forwards dominated particularly in the line-out where we stole quite a few of their throws.”

Jones picked out openside flanker Jim Alderson and tighthead prop Theo Hodnett as his star performers in the pack but also praised some of the young lads who stepped up into the first team.

“We had a couple of big lads missing in the front row and those who came in did really,” the Ludlow coach added.

Four penalties from Sparrow steered the home side into a 12-6 interval lead, Cleobury’s points coming from the boot of Hayden Edwards.

The visitors then grabbed the lead early in the second half when Harry Parked went through for a try which was converted by Alex Sparks.

That was how it remained until Sparrow slotted over his fifth penalty of the afternoon to secure the narrow derby win.

Ludlow focus their attention of the third round of the RFU Midlands Intermediate Cup on Saturday, welcoming Midlands Two West (South) high-fliers Droitwich to the Linney.

Droitwich have won all five of their league games to date, totting up 230 points in the process, but Jones said the match will give him the opportunity to change things around.

“I’ve said all along that there will be changes for the cup matches as they give an opportunity for those not getting a start for the first team to get a run out,” he explained.

Cleobury are without a game this weekend and return to action on November 4 when Newcastle are the visitors.