LUDLOW RFC should settle for nothing less than a top-five finish on their return to Midlands One West, insists their head coach, after last weekend’s stunning derby win.

Mikey Jones’ side climbed to sixth with Saturday’s impressive 20-7 victory over fourth-placed Hereford, who had only lost once in the league this season prior.

Ludlow have adapted admirably to life back at the higher level after going up as Midlands Two West North champions – but face another big test away at third-placed Kenilworth this weekend.

Jones said: “If we can keep injury-free – which, at the moment, we are definitely not – we should be competing for a top-five position.

“Being top of the pile is beyond us right now, we’re not good enough for that and I thought (leaders) Dudley-Kingswinford were very strong when we played them but we can aim for that top five.

“We’ve shown we can beat the top four sides.

“Kenilworth slipped up at the weekend (losing at fifth-placed Lichfield) but they are a good side – and sometimes getting a result on the road is probably even better than winning at home.

“We spoke after Saturday’s game about the need to back it up again next week and that this is an even bigger game.”

It had been a long time since Ludlow had beaten Hereford but they outplayed their visitors for 80 minutes as returning skipper Matt Davies – back from a dislocated shoulder – led from the front.

Hereford were seldom allowed out of their own half during the first period and Ludlow's relentless pressure eventually earned them a penalty under the posts which Will Sparrow slotted.

Hereford hit back, won a line-out close to Ludlow’s line and went ahead through a penalty try but the hosts’ response was swift as Joe Doyle scored under the posts and Sparrow converted.

A 10-7 half-time lead was extended by a Sparrow penalty after the break and Ludlow sealed victory as another spell of pressure was rewarded by Ben Black cutting inside for a brilliant finish.

A delighted Jones beamed: “It was a really good result. We controlled the majority of the game and we were stronger in all aspects of play."