LUDLOW have it all to do to see through their promotion dream after slipping to an ill-disciplined 22-20 defeat at Uttoxeter.

Norman Stalker’s men lost top spot in Midlands Three West (North) courtesy of unfavourable results elsewhere as Cleobury Mortimer moved ahead having been granted a home walkover by back-markers Eccleshall.

Third-placed Burntwood won 38-22 at Harborne and now trail Ludlow by a single point ahead of their crunch trip to the Linney on Saturday.

Gary Dipple kicked Uttoxeter ahead twice in the opening 12 minutes either side of Will Sparrow’s successful penalty before back-row Rob Davies broke from a scrum to register Ludlow’s opening try.

Sparrow added the extras and another penalty but Dipple kept landing his efforts with the boot as well as Ludlow continued to show poor temperament

With his side on the back foot, Sparrow stepped up to the plate with a clever interception before dashing the length of the pitch to dive between the posts.

A second conversion saw Ludlow move eight points ahead but dissent got the visitors on the wrong side of the referee and Dipple’s fifth kicked reduced the arrears.

Dan Rawlings picked up a yellow card despite appearing to fairly claim the ball and during his spell in the sin bin, Uttoxeter took advantage to register their only try of the match when James Gill scored on the overlap.

Thomas Sherratt held his nerve to kick what proved to be the winning conversion as the hosts held firm for the final 16 minutes.

The battle to avoid the drop in Midlands Four West (North) could not be tighter as the pendulum swung once more on Saturday.

Church Stretton returned to the bottom two on the back of a 52-7 defeat at Bloxwich just seven days after beating and leapfrogging relegation rivals Bishop’s Castle & Onny Valley, 13-3 winners over Essington at the weekend.