Shropshire Star

Ludlow and Spartans celebrating title triumphs

The celebrations were in full flow at Ludlow and Bridgnorth Spartans after they were crowned champions of their respective Salop Leisure League divisions.


Sean Evans highlighted consistency and commitment as the key ingredients in Ludlow’s Premier Division success.

A 4-1 win at home to Morda United on Saturday saw them deservedly crowned champions after setting the pace for the majority of the season under the guidance of Evans and fellow joint-boss Chris Waldron.

But Evans admitted the duo had gone into pre-season with doubts over whether to carry on following a testing 2022-23 campaign.

“Myself and Chris did wonder if it was all worth it after last season when we were chasing round trying to get players to play,” said Evans. “But we had something like 23 players turn up for our first pre-season game. Some of those players moved on but the commitment levels have been a lot better.

“It’s nice to win it with your hometown club and with local players as well.

“Consistency and having a squad to chose from have been massive.

“We have had good players on the bench ready to come on. That keeps everyone on their toes because they know there are players waiting to step in.

“It’s also enables us to rotate things and keep the players fresh.

“We are a good footballing side and always try to play the right way but having fresh legs on the bench has helped because fitness is a big thing.”

Ryan Lewis took the individual plaudits on Saturday with a hat-trick, while leading scorer Kieran Dovey added another goal to his tally as Ludlow recorded their 27th win from 30 league games.

While Evans saluted the whole squad’s efforts, he did reserve a word of extra praise for leading scorer Dovey and midfielder Charlie Edwards.

“Kieran has scored 30 goals and he is the best player in the league,” said Evans. “And Charlie Edwards also made a big difference. He brought the right sort of attitude and work ethic.”

Evans also paid tribute to the sterling efforts of chairman Kev Bursnell, saying: “I’m pleased for our chairman Kev Bursnell. He puts a hell of a lot of work in and puts his hand in his pocket to buy us kit and stuff and sorts out a lot of sponsorship.

“The lads love him and there wouldn’t be a club without him. People may not realise the amount of work he does which allows myself and Chris to get on with managing the players.

“They tend to manage themselves but just need a little direction and that’s what we have given them.”

Ludlow will wrap up their season on Saturday away to second-placed Dawley Town, and will be looking to avenge their only league defeat of the season – a shock 9-0 loss in September.

“They beat us 9-0 earlier in the season, and while losing by that many is embarrassing it might have actually done us a favour,” said Evans. “I kept reminding the lads about that for a few weeks and telling them that they might not be as good as they thought they were.

“But they responded really well and we have proved we are the best team in the league.”

The other top-flight action saw Wrockwardine Wood hit the goal trail at home to Wem Town.

Two goals from Shane Thomas and one from Callum Pugh put Wood 3-0 up at half-time.

The hosts then turned on the style after the break to add a further five un answered goals.

Thomas completed his hat-trick, while Pugh added a second. Jason Harris and substitutes Jamie Porter and Matthew Stuart were also on the mark.

Tom Carter was another hat-trick hero as Church Stretton Town beat Whitchurch Alport 7-2. Connor Leask (two), Jack Leask and Matthew Cole joined Carter on the scoresheet for the hosts.

Jamie Hands proved a real handful for the Shifnal Town defence.

Hands fired home a four-goal salvo to help visiting Gobowen Celtic secure a 5-2 victory. Samuel Nash added their other goal.

Shrewsbury Up & Comers also enjoyed a happy return journey following a resounding 6-1 success at struggling St Martins.

Strikes from Charlie Gordon, Alex Hughes, Kevin Renshaw, George Taylor and keeper Cosmin Stefanescu, via the penalty spot, plus an own goal earned Shrewsbury the points.

Drayton Town AFC missed the chance to secure survival as they went down 2-0 at home to Ercall Colts Juniors Evolution. Jason Clare scored both goals inside three first-half minutes.

In Division One, Bridgnorth Spartans clinched the title without even kicking a ball. A 3-2 defeat for nearest rivals Shrewsbury Juniors Development at home to Brown Clee meant the celebrations could start for unbeaten Spartans, who are five points clear at the top. Constantin Ghita and Tyrese Jones were on target for Shrewsbury.

Ryan Jones was the star man as Impact FC United beat Llanymynech 5-1.

Jones helped himself to a hat-trick, while Luke Matthews and Sam Goucher struck once each.

The victory secured a third-placed finish for Impact.

Ercall Rangers ran riot on their visit to lowly Morda United Development, running out 9-0 winners.

Morda led 2-0 at the break following goals from Joshua Evans and Regan Hampson. The floodgates opened after the break as Luke Dent bagged a hat-trick, Evans struck again and Owen Shedden, Liam Williams and Evan Wallcroft-Pearsall netted.

Meole Brace 1906 beat AFC Weston Rhyn 2-0.