Newcastle 17 - 33 Ludlow
Ludlow kept their hopes of a top four finish alive with an emphatic bonus point victory at Newcastle.
Ludlow were kept under pressure for long periods as the big Newcastle pack rumbled forward often pinning Ludlow in their half for long periods. But the Ludlow defence was immense and when they turned the ball over they moved it wide at speed with the backs and forwards combining to make huge yardage gains.
The Ludlow scrum almost scored a pushover try
But it was Newcastle who were first on the scoreboard with a penalty after four minutes. Within a minute Ludlow scrum half Rhys Perks made the first of a series of breaks making huge ground. As the ball was recycled and swung wide Newcastle infringed and Will Sparrow levelled from the resulting penalty. Sparrow was on the board again with a massive penalty from the halfway line to put Ludlow ahead as Newcastle crept offside.
Ludlow captain Matt Davies passes to Perkins for his second try
Jim Alderson made big yardage through the middle of the field and when he was finally brought down good follow up work won quick ball and Perks spotted the blindside begging to dot down in the corner. Sparrow added the conversion to make it 13-3.
Newcastle's forwards were not about to lie down. A series of drives took them to the Ludlow line and a converted try. Sparrow added another penalty and then a superb break by Ludlow captain and number 8 Matt Davies punched a hole through the Newcastle backs. He found Perks to his right with a lovely pass and he showed Newcastle a clean pair of heels to score in the corner to take the half time score to 21-10.
A shoulder injury to second row Stefan Anthony meant a reshuffle for the Ludlow back row and Jamie Simpson stepped into the breach. It wasn’t for long. He made a try saving tackle and was then yellow carded for lying on the ball. With a man down Ludlow conceded a try as Newcastle reverted to rumbling the ball forward with pick and drives.
ludlow prop Theo Hodnett steals a ball.
But the last words were left for Ludlow.
A tired kick was fielded at full gallop by Sparrow who beat the first man before spinning it wide for Lawrence Hughes to score on the wing.
With the Newcastle forwards visibly tiring the fit Ludlow pack pushed them all over the park. Just as it looked as if they would score a well deserved pushover try, Perks plucked the ball from the scrum and spun it wide for Lawrence Hughes to score his second giving Ludlow a bonus point win. Sparrow converted.