FIRST half tries from Laurence Hughes and Rhys Perks, along with seven points from the boot of Will Sparrow, steered Ludlow to a vital 17-3 victory at home to Tamworth.

But the win came at a cost with forward Phil Parkes snapping a tendon in his hand while the influential Jim Alderson looks set to spend a few weeks on the sidelines after being sent off.

“The red card for Jim was frustrating because he is one of our main ball carriers,” head coach Mikey Jones said.

“We were in control five metres from the line and they’ve pulled the maul down.

"Something has happened on the floor and Jim has reacted with a punch which the referee has seen.

“We’re hoping that he will get nothing more than a two-week ban as it is his first offence and Ludlow has a good record when it comes to discipline.”

While the home side had the better of the first half it was Tamworth who chalked up the first points courtesy of a penalty after Ludlow were caught offside.

But the hosts responded well and took the lead thanks to an excellent backs move and lovely break from Perks.

He was tackled ten metres from the line but the ball was recycled quickly and moved to the left for Hughes to dot down in the corner.

With ten minutes on the clock, Joe Doyle and Sparrow combined with the latter throwing a lovely inside pass to Perks who still had plenty to do but showed a clean pair of heels to score under the posts.

Sparrow kicked both conversions and added three more through a penalty to secure the 17-3 interval lead.

Ludlow continued to have the better of things at the start of the second period but were unable to add to their tally, turning down three kickable penalties in order to kick to the corner in search of further tries.

The visitors finished the stronger, helped by the home side being reduced to 13 players late on with Doyle being sin binned after Alderson had been sent off.

“We were 17-3 up at half-time but then made very hard work of the second half,” Jones added.

“But we’ve won and that puts us above Veseyans who we play on Saturday.

“When I was asked at the start of the season, I said that I thought a top five finish was achievable.

"It wasn’t looking so good after our first six or seven games but after two good wins we’re back on track and could be in the top five by the end of January.”

* Ludlow’s promotion-winning season, when they were one of just three sides in the country to score more than 1,000 points, was celebrated on Saturday when last season's skipper Josh Hill was presented with an award by Shropshire RFU president Judith Phelps.