ALL-ROUNDER Will Sparrow believes Ludlow CC can match last season’s sixth-placed finish in the Shropshire Premier – but insists they must secure their survival first and foremost.

Saturday’s five-wicket win at second-bottom St Georges – as Alfie Holliehead took a five-fer and stand-in skipper Luke Miles hit 80 with the bat – established a 66-point safety buffer.

With just five games remaining, that should be enough to ensure Ludlow’s top-flight status but they can seal the deal with victory at home to basement side Allscott Heath this Saturday.

Then, with two more games against sides in the bottom four to come, Ludlow – currently eighth – can begin to look up.

Sparrow said: “It was a huge win on Saturday – the first of four big weekends against sides around the foot of the table – and all of the other results went our way as well.

“None of the other teams at the bottom really picked up any points and we know that if we can get the 20 points against Allscott then we should be safe.

“We have to target winning our next three games because we can’t necessarily rely on picking up anything from the final two as we are playing teams competing for the title (Wem and Quatt).

“We wouldn’t want to go into those games needing anything – it would be nice to pick up these 60 points in the next three and make sure we are mathematically safe.”

Saturday’s game at St George’s threatened to be competitive until the hosts lost their final seven wickets for just 18 runs.

Holliehead removed opener Rory Livingstone for a duck but St George’s skipper Chris Miller (64) and Ben Miller (78 off 64 balls) put the hosts in control.

Once the former fell, however, the wheels came off and Holliehead took 5-26 as St George’s crumbled from 173-3 to 191 all out, with Josh Williams (2-6) also pitching in.

Miles anchored the reply superbly, supported by Sparrow (32), Williams (24) and James Kinder (21) as Ludlow, who have struggled with the bat this season, got home at 194-5.

Ludlow seconds agonisingly lost by two runs at home to Newport in Division Three.

Danny Bradley (2-39) took two wickets and claimed two run-outs as Newport were limited to 189-8, skipper David Atherton (68) top-scoring.

Opener Simon Miles hit 46 in reply but Ludlow could not cope with Lewis Davies (5-34) as they were dismissed narrowly shy of their target on 187.

Elsewhere, Church Stretton remain bottom of Division Four as they were dismissed for 131 – Huw Bevan (40) top-scoring – in reply to Chelmarsh’s 244-1.

And Corvedale stay bottom of Division Six as Glyn Tipton’s 50 was not enough to prevent their 152-7 falling well short of the 217-5 posted by Pontesbury for whom Allister Corfield hit an unbeaten 103.