LUDLOW continued their climb up the Midlands Two West (North) table with a 17-0 victory over Newcastle at the weekend.

And they were inspired by the return of second row Stefan Anthony who had been out of the game for two years after the former player of the year underwent knee surgery.

A converted Joe Doyle try and Will Sparrow penalty gave the home side a ten-point interval lead but it needed an opportunist score from hooker Ben Chamberlain to finally secure the win.

Head coach Mikey Jones said: “Stefan has been out for two years so it was good to have him back.

“The plan was to take him off after an hour but he was doing well so we kept him on for the entire game.

"We don’t have the biggest pack so it’s good to have him because he brings extra height.

“Our game plan was to try and get the ball out wide but it didn’t help that the pitch became so heavy.”

The home side did manage to run the ball while the pitch held up, managing to beat Newcastle on the outside before passing inside to make good ground.

This was the case with Doyle’s try.

Lawrence Hughes beat his man out wide before picking out the full-back and Doyle did well to power his way to the line.

Sparrow added the conversion and a penalty a few minutes later to give the home side their ten-point lead.

After a half time talking to, Newcastle began the second half in full attack mode and Ludlow were forced to defend hard for long periods.

But they survived and when the visitors were forced back over their own line from a scrum, quick-thinking Chamberlain spotted that the ball was out and dived over to claim a second Ludlow score which Sparrow converted.

Ludlow entertain Walsall at The Linney this weekend knowing that a win could lift them up into the top five.

“We drew 39-39 up at their place in a game where we were 39-20 up going into the final 15 minutes,” Jones added.

“It’s going to be a tough game but we fancy our chances against anyone at home at the moment.

“We will also have players coming back into the squad which will strengthen us.

"Back row Jim Alderson returns after a two-week ban for his red card we should also have Mark Williams and Rhys Perks back.”

Elsewhere in the division, Cleobury Mortimer lost their home match with Veseyans 16-10 and head to Leek this weekend.

Church Stretton’s match with Market Drayton was postponed but will be back in Midlands Four West (North) action when they entertain fellow strugglers Bloxwich. Clee Hill could go fifth if they see off Aston Old Edwardians and Bishop’s Castle take on Gnosall in Midlands Five West (North).