LUDLOW Cricket Club’s thrilling first win of 2020 can be the kickstart their summer needed, believes the man who hit their maiden half-century of the campaign. Will Sparrow’s 50 set the platform for Ludlow’s run chase against Madeley – although a flurry of late wickets meant it went down to the very last ball before they triumphed. The win lifted Ludlow off the foot of the Premier Division Clive Smith Group table – and they now face a Bank Holiday weekend double-header against the only side below them, Allscott Heath. “It was good to get that monkey off our back,” admitted Sparrow after Ludlow produced their highest score this season of 179-9. “We made hard work of it in the end and it was a bit of a relief but we showed a bit more maturity with our batting. “We knew as long as we took it as deep into the game as possible, not go out early and lose wickets, and use as many of the 40 overs as we could, we had a chance – and that approach paid off. “Hopefully it’s a tipping point in the season and kickstarts us as you always want to be on the right side of those close games, especially after losing four on the bounce. “Now, playing Saturday and Monday against Allscott Heath is a real opportunity to win again – but they will be looking at the fixtures and thinking the same thing.” Bryan Leighton – who earlier topped the bowling figures with 4-36 as Madeley were all out for 176 – was the last-ball hero, hitting a fine boundary to win the game. Ludlow were cruising at 169-6 but lost three wickets in the final three overs, needing two to win off the final over which, after five run-less deliveries, became two off the last ball. “Bryan hit the off-spinner straight over his head,” laughed Sparrow. “It was one to tie – but it was never going to be a tie!” Ludlow seconds, however, were unable to dispel their batting troubles, all out for 102 in a five-wicket loss to Shifnal thirds that leaves them bottom of East and South Division Two. Ben Roberts (35no) and David Northwood (31) were the only batsmen to make scores of note and Shifnal got home at 104-5 despite fine bowling from Zach White (3-18) and Mackenzie Swift (2-23). Church Stretton suffered a fifth straight loss to stay bottom of South Central, skittled for 56 with Saif Khalid (19) top-scoring as visitors Shrewsbury thirds romped home inside 11 overs. In the Worcestershire League, Cleobury Mortimer batted poorly, all out for 58 in just 15.4 overs. They were better with the ball but visitors Claverley limped home at 59-6. Tenbury Wells won again as Ankit Jain (3-29) and Jamie Farrar (2-22) restricted hosts Martley to 150-8 before Alfie Watts (34) and David Hunt (28no) helped the visitors home at 151-7.