LOOSE bowling and some disappointing batting saw Ludlow slip up at home to fellow Shropshire League Premier Division hopefuls Wem.

And it means that going into the second half of the season, six sides including Ludlow are in the chase for league honours.

“A lot of the sides up at the top lost so it was frustrating that we couldn’t take advantage,” skipper Will Sparrow admitted after his side went down by 98 runs.

“That’s going to make it very exciting now with everyone in the top group having to play each other. It’s going to go down to the last two or three weeks.”

Having won the toss, Wem chose to bat and soon started piling on the runs with openers Harry Chandler (37) and Chris Peel (25) putting on a quickfire 37 for the first wicket.

Sam Peate then added a methodical 63 and Tom Astley 37 to take their innings to 247 all out in the 50th over.

The wickets were shared around with Will Sparrow (3-64) taking the most while Josh Williams and Louis Watkins took two apiece.

Sparrow added: “We probably allowed them to score a few more than they should but we still felt as though we could challenge their total, particularly when the outfield was so quick.

“They started very quickly, knocking me and Louis around a bit. We did manage to rein them in a bit but some of the bowling was too loose.

“Luke Miles bowled well even though he didn’t get a wicket – he only went for 25 off his ten overs. And young Josh Williams took his first wicket in the 1sts which was good.”

The Ludlow reply never got going with Sparrow (25) and Glen Whittaker (24) top scoring before they both fell to Wem’s Harry Astley (4-30). Kevin Boulton dug in for 18 at the end but the loss of his wicket meant the home side had been dismissed for just 149.

“Our batting was poor,” Sparrow added. “Just when it looked as though we were coming back into the game with a partnership, we’d lose a wicket.”

Ludlow head to struggling Madeley on Saturday and the skipper will be able to call on strike bowler Ruel Brathwaite who has been out with a hamstring injury.

But while the Barbadian quickie will be back to lead the line, Sparrow will have five others unable to make the trip.

“It’s how it is at this time of year,” he admitted. “It’s been shown that any side can beat anyone in this league but it’s important that we get back on the winning road again.”

Ludlow 2nd lost out to Wellington 4th by two wickets even though skipper Simon Kemsley took 5-50. Opener Matthew Hawes top scored with 44.