CLEOBURY Mortimer’s promotion hopes are hanging by a thread after a second damaging defeat inside three weeks to a top-two rival in Worcestershire League Division Eight.

Ten-man Mortimer paid the price for a poor performance with the bat as they slipped to a six-wicket loss at Bredon seconds.

The loss, along with defeat a fortnight ago to Burghill, Tillington and Weobley, leaves fourth-placed Cleobury 42 points off the top two with just five games of the season remaining.

Having lost opener Gareth Layton for a duck, Cleobury seemed to be rebuilding well thanks to Liam Williams (46) and skipper Sam Evans (21).

However, their middle and lower order completely collapsed in the face of bowling from Callum James (4-14) and Emily Arlott (3-20).

Kieran Hall (11) was the only other batsman to reach double figures as the ten men were dismissed for 103 inside 25 overs.

Ed Kemp (2-20) removed both Bredon openers early on in the reply to give Cleobury hope but Johnny McGrath (41no) guided the hosts home with few further alarms at 104-4.

In Division Nine, meanwhile, Tenbury Wells remain in second place after their big clash with promotion rivals Worcester thirds was completely rained off.

The abandonment means Tenbury retain their narrow one-point advantage over third-placed Worcester with five games to play.

Tenbury’s seconds, meanwhile, remain winless in the Division Twelve Play-offs after a 51-run defeat at Worcester fourths.

Bowling first, Tenbury did well to limit Worcester to 175 all out as Harrison Davies (4-35) and Ashley Wood (3-35) shone with the ball. Yassir Hussain (46) and Faisal Zaib (43) top-scored for Worcester.

In reply, though, Tenbury could muster only 124 all out with Tom Gloster (29) and Nigel Payne (18) the only batsmen to make double figures.