LUDLOW Cricket Club’s long-running batting problems are becoming a real concern, club stalwart Will Sparrow admitted as their woes with the willow continued last weekend.

The Burway men slipped to a third straight defeat in the Shropshire League Premier Division Clive Smith Group, remaining bottom of their pool after being skittled for 89 by Quatt.

Ludlow’s top and middle order had no answer to a scintillating spell from Quatt bowlers Jonathan Edwards (5-32) and Gareth Jones (3-6) as they slumped from 33-0 to 50-8.

Sam Roberts (18) and Joe Williams (13) helped the tail restore a modicum of pride but Quatt cruised past the target at 90-1 inside just 12 overs.

“The new format has taken the pressure off with no promotion and relegation and it gives the youngsters lots of opportunities but we’ve had three awful performances,” admitted Sparrow.

“The top five have to improve – there’s an abundance of bowling talent at the club but we have been seriously lacking batting-wise the last two years."

Ludlow’s seconds are struggling just as badly with the bat, also winless and sitting bottom of East and South Division Two after a five-wicket loss at Forton.

All out for 109, Ludlow did their best to defend the mediocre total, particularly impressive bowler Mackenzie Swift (4-39) but Forton just about got home at 111-5.

There was a first defeat of the summer for Bishops Castle, another side who suffered a batting collapse, but they remain top of the Wales and West Division despite their loss at Newtown.

Tail-ender George Rayment (19) top-scored as Castle were out for 102 and Matt Humphreys (46no) bludgeoned the hosts home at 103-4 despite braces for Simon Palmer (2-15) and Caitlin Perry (2-14).

Skipper Palmer’s side now face a key double-header, away then home, against second-placed Llanidloes but the captain is focusing on enjoyment, not finishing top.

He said: “At the moment, it’s just about hoping we finish the season because the (coronavirus) situation could change in a couple of weeks.

“There’s talk of pubs being closed to ensure the schools reopen and cricket comes a long way down the priority list.

“I’m just glad we’ve managed to get a few games under our belts as it’s more than I thought we would in May.”

Elsewhere, Church Stretton (194-7) lost narrowly at Beacon (212-3) to remain winless and bottom of South Central despite Cameron Holtz’s superb 115.

In the Worcestershire League, Cleobury Mortimer (315-4) won a high-scoring affair against Enville (242) thanks to James Manley (98), Ed Kemp (89) and Kieran Hall (56) plus Kemp’s 5-53 with the ball.

Tenbury Wells, though, suffered a first loss of the summer, all out for 168 in response to visitors Ombersley’s 257-5.