Toby Ward of Crewe & Nantwich v Ludlow

Crewe & Nantwich RUFC 1sts produced their performance of the season so far to topple league leaders Ludlow in dramatic fashion.

The Vagrants turned form on its head after four straight defeats when the leaders arrived.

And Ludlow immediately put Crewe under pressure from their kick off, attacking the ball strongly forcing Crewe backwards.

A series of quick plays allowed space for their right winger to go over in the corner 0-5.

Crewe soon settled and gradually gained the upper hand, from a scrum under the Ludlow posts centre Josh McShane went over for a try converted by fly half Jim Creighton, 7-5.

A knock on from the visitors gave Crewe a scrum in their half.

It led to a miss move in the backs, and full back Toby Ward (pictured) came into the line at pace to commit the final defender and release left wing Elliot Meredith to sprint in for a converted try and 14-5.

From the kick-off, Crewe ran the ball back at the visitors, and some good work by the forwards allowed scum half George Colbourne to force his way over the line to score, again converted by Creighton to make the acore 21-5.

More pressure from Crewe gave hooker Eli Woodward a chance to barrel his way across the whitewash in typical fashion, again this was converted taking the score 28-5.

Ludlow responded straight away, sending over their speedy right wing for his second try 28-10.

However, good pressure from the restart from centre Thomas Roberts giving him the turnover to release Creighton who burst over the line, taking the final score of the first half 33-10.

Ludlow to their credit came out firing in the second half, pinning Crewe back in their 22 for long periods.

The home side’s defence was strong initially but eventually the visitors number 8 forced his way over under the posts taking the score to 33-17.

Another try quickly followed from a lucky bounce in the Crewe 22 and the visitors closed the gap to 33-24.

Ludlow could smell blood and the deficit was reduced further by their right wing completing his hat trick, which was well converted, to make it 33-31.

Another try from Ludlow gave them the lead for the first time since the opening minute, 33-38, and Crewe looked to have suffered their fifth straight league loss.

But the players had a different idea and from the kick off, the ball was turned over to release full back Ward who although tackled managed to off load to Meredith who sprinted over for his second try.

Creighton slotted the tough conversion to secure a dramatic and much-needed league victory.

Crewe and Nantwich head coach John Farr: “All credit goes to the players this week.

“A tremendous win and another step in the right direction.

“They showed that they are capable of sublime rugby and scored six incredible tries.

“However, we still have some work to do defensively and this, combined with a spirited Ludlow comeback, made for real heart attack territory.

“Toby Ward was exceptional on a long-awaited return, and Chris Sproston put in a Herculean effort.

“In the end, though, the men stood to and pulled together to allow Elliot Meredith to score an exhilarating winner at the death.

“Testament to the character of the squad.

“At that point I thought, I can’t speak, we all can’t speak, best in the world, never mind anybody else.”

Crewe & Nantwich 2nds narrowly lost 17-24 to Holmes Chapel, but the 3rds continued their fine form with a battling 17-4 victory over Leek 2nds.

(Pic by Sue Rideout)

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