LUDLOW CC’s Shropshire Premier status will hinge on whether they can continue their happy habit of picking off their relegation rivals, admits all-rounder Will Sparrow.

Last weekend’s defeat to league leaders Wem has left fourth-bottom Ludlow just 14 points clear of the drop zone – and they host second-bottom Bomere Heath this Saturday.

Ludlow have already beaten the two other sides below them in the table – Madeley and Allscott Heath – this season and Sparrow believes this weekend’s encounter is a vital one.

He said: “We were hoping to be higher than we are but we have to make sure we keep nicking points against the top sides and beating the sides down the bottom.

“Bomere is a huge game as they are right down there with us. Everyone is pretty much within a win of each other in the bottom half so it’s too early to call what’s going to happen.

“We are in a tough position and we would much rather be 40 points north of where we are. We just need a couple of people to find form and we will be well clear.”

Alfie Holliehead (2-25) struck twice early on for Ludlow at Wem but opener Raj Biswa’s boundary-laden 67 set the platform for the hosts to amass 239.

Wem’s middle order chipped in, particularly Martyn Davies (45) and Steve Blenkinsop (31) but Sam Edwards (2-44) and a late Ian Simmons (4-34) flurry ensured the hosts were all out in the final over.

In reply, Edwards (31) and Daniel Ashley (24) put on 50 for Ludlow’s first wicket but, unlike Wem, their middle order failed to kick on, losing wickets cheaply.

As a result, Ludlow – who were without big-hitting opener Okera Bascome and captain Ruel Brathwaite – slipped from 50-0 to 93-6.

And, despite some brave resistance from Sam Roberts (20) and Simmons (13) they were all out for 149 as man of the match Biswa (4-22) and Harry Astley (4-43) shone with the ball.

Sparrow added: “It was disappointing because we managed to restrict a good side to a score that was chaseable. It was a big toss for them to win – we would have wanted to bat first on that deck.

“At half-time we felt we were in with a shout and then our openers set a relatively good platform but our middle order let us down.”

There was better news for Ludlow seconds, who boosted their Shropshire Division Three title bid with a 40-run home win over Frankton.

Ludlow’s total of 225-4 owed much to an excellent second-wicket century partnership between opener Simon Miles, who carried his bat with an unbeaten 77, and Luke Hicks (66).

Grant McKay’s fine 60 gave Frankton a sniff of a chance of victory but Mackenzie Swift (3-22) and Glen Whittaker (3-49) helped dismiss them for 185.