DROITWICH coach Blair Hunter anticipates another close-fought encounter against Ludlow on Saturday when the two sides meet at The Glyn Mitchell Memorial Ground (2.15pm).
The Monners go into the fixture on the back of a 58-12 humbling away to Midlands One West title challengers Lichfield last weekend. Tries from Matt Handford and Nico Mason, plus a Josh Skinner conversion, provided the Droitwich points at Cooke Fields.
But Hunter remains confident that with a good backing this weekend, the Monners can get back to winning ways against the sixth-placed visitors. Ludlow won 39-31 when the sides met in Shropshire in October.
“If we play to our full potential and get the supporters down in their numbers, then it should be another close one,” he said. “I can’t see it being another game won by 50 points. A number of teams have been steamrolled by Ludlow at their place.”
Hunter admits that while the gulf between Droitwich and second-placed Lichfield was evident from the start of the most-recent outing, matters were not helped by an injury-strewn second half that depleted the Monners’ numbers further.
He continued: “We had a disjointed side at 75 per cent strength. To have kept the score down to 30 points would have been an achievement.
“But in the last 15 minutes we finished with 14 men on the pitch. We had four injuries [to Phil Horton, Pete Knight, Handford and Skinner] and with all of our options from the bench used up. So to play a side that good with fewer numbers on the pitch, it was very tough. We competed but it was all one-way at the end.
“We were 24-12 behind at half-time, to be honest I would have taken that, but they were a class act throughout.
“Their backs showed lots of guile, and in the second half they pulled us apart. We were chasing shadows.”
Droitwich are back on home turf on Saturday, and the Monners coach is keen to see the club address their “away complex” in the coming months.
“The lads knew it would be tough last weekend, but it doesn’t help having an away complex,” Hunter said.
“If you look elsewhere, Worcester Warriors have had the same problem in the past three years.
“We’re a different proposition at home, but even against the bottom six away we really struggle.”