LUCTONIANS Head Coach Ryan Watkins praised his side for managing the conditions as they sent a message to their promotion rivals by beating Bridgnorth 45-12.

With five games remaining Watkins' side have closed the gap to five points over leaders Scunthorpe and sit three points behind Newport (Salop) in the second place play-off spot.

Promotion challengers Bridgnorth came to Mortimer Park after knocking the hosts out of the North Midlands Cup earlier in the season and winning the reverse league fixture.

Despite playing against a strong wind it was Luctonians who took the maiden try through Drew Cheshire in the corner. Bridgnorth then made the most of the condition with Luis Evitt pulling a try back before Ted Parker took a converted score to give them a 12-7 half-time lead.

Luctonians responded in the second half and a smart move was finished in the corner by Josh Watkins.

Five minutes later Lucs' regained the lead with Will Burton finishing a move across the back line, with Louis Silver converting to put them 15-12 ahead.

From then on Watkins' side were in emphatic form with Cheshire crossing the whitewash for the second time before from the re-start Watkins used his pace to increase the lead.

John Morris added a further score before Aiden Cheshire drove over to complete the 45-12 win.

"It was a really top performance," said Watkins.

"I think the conditions were always going to be like that in the first half but we managed them really well against a strong wind.

"We controlled possession as much as we could. So to go in at half-time just five points behind meant that we managed the conditions really well.

"We just managed the game better than them and used the conditions better then them. The second half showed how strong the wind was and how well we did in the first half."

Luctonians head for another crunch fixture against fourth place Broadstreet this weekend before finishing with four fixtures against bottom-half opposition.

"We know it's going to be a tough one as they are just one point behind us so are not in a bad position," added Watkins.

"It will be a really tough game but if we can get through this one then it puts us in a strong position to pressure those teams above us.

"We don't pay too much attention to the other sides and it's about us keeping our focus on what we are doing.

"I have said for a while now that we need five points each week if we are to creep back up there.

We need tries on the board with bonus point wins to give ourselves a chance of moving up the table.

"We know we have just got to get our heads down and keep the pressure on.

"With the weather changing in our favour I would back ourselves as a good attacking team."