CHURCH Stretton are approaching a crucial period in their battle to avoid relegation from Shropshire League Division Four, admits skipper Peter Lee.

A combination of the withdrawal from the league of basement side Prees and a nine-wicket loss at Calverhall – in which nine-man Stretton scored just 38 – have left Lee’s men bottom of the table.

With whispers over another league restructure in the winter, the number of relegation spots is uncertain.

Either way, Lee is hoping for an improvement in form for upcoming games against three of the four sides above them – Bridgnorth, Cae Glas and Iscoyd & Fenns Bank.

He said: “We have to aim for good results against these teams. Next week is the last win/lose game and that gives us an advantage as we are the sort of team that picks up points (in draws).”

Stretton, not helped by being short of numbers due to recent departures, will need to improve on Saturday’s collapse at Calverhall in which no batsman made it into double figures.

Elsewhere in Division Four, Bishops Castle pushed fourth-placed Acton Reynald all the way but ran into William Evans’ one-man show.

Evans hit an unbeaten 79 to lead Reynald to 222-7, despite impressive bowling from Castle skipper Simon Palmer (4-45).

Opener Jonathan Price’s 61 gave Castle hope but Evans (5-24) took a hat-trick in destroying their middle order and the hosts fell short on 190-8.

Corvedale remain second-bottom of Division Six after losing by six wickets at Harcourt while Knighton on Teme (64) were thrashed by ten wickets at Wormelow (65-0) in the Marches League.