KNIGHTON-ON-TEME Cricket Club’s promotion hopes have been dealt a major blow after a nine-wicket thrashing against champions Ledbury, writes DANIEL WILKINS.

Knighton had been in contention for a late run at promotion from GB Liners Marches League Division Two but have dropped to fifth spot after last weekend’s defeat.

Knighton travel to Woolhope in their final league match of the campaign this Saturday.

Skipper Matt James said: “Hopefully we’ll be able to put on a better showing against Woolhope and get a few more runs.”

Knighton batted first and managed to get to 186-8 in their 45 overs at Ledbury then only took one wicket as the hosts reached the target inside 34 overs.

Jack Kitchen top scored for Knighton with 47, while Mark Evans hit 31 and James weighed in with 21.

Richard Smith (18) and Jack Brain (16) also contributed for Knighton, while Steve Evans (3-28) and James Brighton (2-27) caused problems with the ball.

Brighton then tormented Knighton with the bat, striking a superb 103 from just 93 balls and hitting 16 fours and three sixes in his match-winning knock. Matt Ehrlich hit 63 not out to guide Ledbury to the target in 33.2 overs.

A disappointed James said: “We are really disappointed with the result and we would have liked to put on more of a show.

“We were outplayed, we can’t have any complaints.”

James said: “The pitch was a bit two- paced and a bit slow; they bowled well and we weren’t able to get them away.

“We dropped five or six catches but their opener did well.”

James went into the game with back-to-back centuries to his name but was not able to match those heroics this time.

He said: “I’m very pleased with my form recently, it’s a rare occurrence so it’s always nice to get a couple centuries but it wasn’t my sort of wicket.”

Knighton were promoted from Division Three last season but found themselves making a late season surge for successive promotions.

James said: “We’re very pleased with our place in the league as we’ve had a very unsettled side.

“It’s good to be up there and not have to worry about coming straight back down.”

He said: “We won the first couple and then we’re rained off and we’re missing a couple of players.

“All of a sudden we started getting into a winning habit.”