LUDLOW head coach Mikey Jones praised his side’s outstanding defensive display that helped secure a battling 18-10 victory at home to Leek in Midlands Two West (North).

Three yellow cards made life tough for the hosts with two of these coming in quick succession after the break.

But they still managed to shut Leek out for long periods to claim the win to put themselves within touching distance of the top four.

“For ten minutes or so in the second half we were camped on our own line,” Jones said. “But we managed to keep them out even though we have backs in the pack and front row players in other positions.”

Will Sparrow scored all 18 points including two tries and second row Stefan Anthony also had an inspirational game. But Jones paid tribute to his entire team as they look to finish the season on a high.

“That’s probably one of our hardest games this season and everyone put their bodies on the line,” Jones said.

“Everyone chipped in and we probably produced our best performance of the season – not in attack but defensively.

“There’s nothing to play for other than points and our final league position but me and Joe [Doyle] are trying to challenge the lads and change their mindset to rty and make sure we finish as high up the table as possible.”

Ludlow made the dream start when, straight from the start, Sparrow fielded the ball from Leek's clearance and returned a high kick which the Leek full-back fumbled. Sparrow reacted quickest and, after hacking forward, dotted down for a first minute try before adding the conversion.

Leek replied through a penalty try as home prop Theo Hodnett was binned but Sparrow responded with two penalties, including one which came off the upright, to give Ludlow a 13-7 interval lead.

The second half belonged largely to the visitors and they were boosted as Josh Hill and then Keiron Price were sent to the bin, leaving Ludlow with just 13 men for a while.

The home side were pinned back for long periods but with such an outstanding defence to content with, all they could show for their efforts was a solitary penalty kick.

And it was Ludlow who added to the points tally late on when Doyle kicked though and the Leek full-back spilled the ball under pressure from Sparrow who gathered to claim his second try of the game.

Jones is now hoping his side can make it back-to-back wins when they head to Kidderminster on Saturday.

He said: “They are a bot of a strange team in that they’ve had some good results only to slip back in recent weeks. But if we play like we did at the weekend then I’d fancy our chances.”

A bonus point win could lift Ludlow up to fourth going into the final four games.