LUDLOW’S middle-order marvels made the difference to seize second spot in the Shropshire Premier and keep the pressure on long-time leaders Whitchurch.

A wobble looked on the cards at 27 for three until captain Will Sparrow (35), Luke Miles (28), Dan Ashley (16) and Paul Sparrow (27) turned around a flailing innings in a 38-run success over St Georges on Saturday.

That spell saw a crucial upturn towards 137 for seven before Neil Davies (7-56) tidied up the tail with the hosts finishing on 148 all out from 39.4 overs.

St Georges appeared to be on target with skipper Chris Miller (21) and Matthew Chesters (23) finding seven boundaries between them.

But at 51 for two, Will Sparrow (4-28) stepped up to the plate to aid the strong work already undertaken by Louis Watkins (2-42) in disposing of the opening pair.

From there it was plain sailing as Joe Williams not only plundered three wickets but also racked up four maidens from eight overs, shipping just 18 runs as the resistance was ended on 110 all out.

The win was vital as Whitchurch overcame fellow contenders Worfield despite scoring a meagre 80 runs.

Worfield, who had started the day second, could only reply with 51 and slipped to third in the standings going into the final four matches.

After Saturday’s home clash with mid-table Newtown (1pm), Ludlow travel to Whitchurch for a crunch showdown on September 9.

Bishop’s Castle roared away from Division Two’s basement with an impressive six-wicket win at third-placed Ellesmere.

George Rayment (5-30), four maidens from Simon Palmer (2-37) and a pair of wickets for Jack Poulton from 19 deliveries helped to restrict the hosts to 144 all out.

Jonathan Price scored 68 with support from Jack Purkis (28) to help Castle cruise over the finishing line with 145 for four from 35.1 overs.

Thomas Moulder’s side is now eighth, although the 21-point cushion over second-bottom Prees will undoubtedly be too close for comfort.

Church Stretton seem destined to be cast adrift at the foot of the table after a six-wicket loss to mid-table Willey.

Andrew Chapman (21), Ben Crump (24) and Tomas Quraishi (26) contributed well to a troublesome total of 104 all out.

Keith Yapp (2-28) briefly delivered hope for Stretton but Stuart Sheperd (28) and Glenn Edwards (25*) weighed in with too much as Willey waltzed through on 105 for four off just 19 overs.

Captain Ross Mantle grabbed the headlines and victory for Corvedale in their basement battle with Acton Reynald.

Mantle crossed the boundary 20 times, scoring 125 from 88 deliveries as Corvedale racked up 191 for seven, before taking four wickets to limit the visitors to 183 all out.