HEAD coach Mikey Jones believes Ludlow’s opening-day draw with Newbold on Avon is proof his newly-promoted side will thrive in Midlands One West – but has challenged them to back up the result on the road.

Only a late Newbold penalty denied Ludlow victory against a side that missed out on a top-two spot by just a single point last season.

Jones was delighted with his side – who picked up their Midlands Two West North champions plaque before kick-off.

But he wants an equally good performance this Saturday at free-scoring Old Halesonians, who won a 60-52 thriller at recently-relegated Lichfield.

Jones said: “At the start of the game if somebody had offered us a draw we would have taken it but the way it panned out, we should have won. All in all it was pretty good but it’s only one game.

“I spoke to their coach afterwards and he said, with the style we play, he couldn’t see us struggling in this league. He said we will do well and I know that if we keep injury-free, we will be fine.

“We can treat it like a win as it keeps our unbeaten home run going. We know that if we are going to survive and compete at this level, we have to win the majority of our home games.

“But we also have to pick up points on the road. We have to back that result up at Halesowen. They were mid-table last year and they are one of the teams we need to focus on competing with.

“We want to beat these kind of teams. Going off their result on Saturday, they score a lot of points but concede a lot too so if our defence is ‘on it’ they could win the game for us.”

Ludlow opened the scoring through Joe Doyle on Saturday but three tries for the visitors, with just a Will Sparrow penalty in response, put Newbold 21-10 up at half-time.

A Tom Amphlett try reduced the deficit and when Jack Lines carved through to go under the posts, Ludlow had turned the game round to lead 24-21 only for the visitors to earn a draw with a penalty.