BAD starts with bat and ball proved costly as Whitchurch surrendered their unbeaten league record at Ludlow on Saturday.

The Heath Road men still hold a commanding 29-point lead in the Shropshire League Premier Division, with their conquerors Ludlow now their closest challengers.

And chairman of cricket Iain Marsh is far from despondent – despite Saturday’s 22-run defeat.

“If you’d told us at the start of the season we’d be 29 points clear after nine matches, we certainly have taken it,” said Marsh.

“And the main thing is team spirit remains good. We’re all pulling together, and we’re really looking forward to this weekend’s game against Newtown.

“The trouble on Saturday was that we made a poor start to both innings.

“They won the toss and batted – the first time we haven’t batted first all season – and we let them get away to  171-2.

“Then when we came to bat, we lost our first three wickets for just six runs, and our fourth with the score on 25.

“We fought back well in both innings, but you can’t really get away with two bad starts like that.”

Jack Griffiths (65) and Will Gough (57) laid the foundation for a good Ludlow score, and they ended on 245 off their 50 overs. Ijaz Yousaf put the brake on at the end of the innings, taking 4-18.

In reply, Whitchurch lost Vansh Bajaj, Ed Watson-Jones, Sam Ellis and Elliott Bowen with just 25 on the board before Yousaf steadied the ship with 34.

Kris Ali and Simon Dimelow came together with the score on 139-8, and set out on a ninth-wicket stand which gave Whitchurch some hope.

Ali fell for 80 with the score on 203-9, and Dimelow was last man out for 44 when the total was 223.

“Apart from skipper Alex Huxley, who misses the last of his three games away, everyone’s available for Saturday – so we’ll be looking to bounce straight back,” said Marsh. 

Play at Heath Road starts at 1pm.

*For a full round-up of north Shropshire cricket, see this week's Whitchurch Herald.