LOUIS Watkins’ inspired bowling display was in vain as Ludlow CC spurned a golden chance to move well clear of the Shropshire Premier relegation battle in an agonising three-run defeat at Wellington.

In a game affected by rain, Watkins (5-23) demolished the Wellington top order to reduce them to 34-5.

Stewart Black (35) saved the hosts from total humiliation but they were still all out for 137 as Will Sparrow (2-32) and Joe Williams (2-27) backed up Watkins.

Ludlow had 38 overs to chase down the total but slumped to 27-4.

James Kinder (42) dug in and Ian Simmons (22) provided support but Ludlow fell heartbreakingly short at 134-8, dropping to ninth in the table as Wellington leapfrogged them.

Ludlow seconds suffered an equally narrow defeat in the reverse Division Three fixture despite Will Gough (55), Luke Hicks (40) and Matthew Porter (33no) leading them to a formidable 239-8.

When Edward Riley (5-45) destroyed the Wellington top order, Ludlow seemed set for victory but Simon Topper (56) and Ryan Fernando (36no) edged the hosts home by one wicket.