Ledbury'S promotion hopes were dealt a severe blow as they went down by two wickets off the penultimate ball in a bad-tempered match in the Marches League division three.


On a glorious pitch for batting and under clear skies Ledbury won the toss, elected to bat and the new opening pair of Burgess and Ehrlich set about the home side's bowling attack. Both bowlers were put to the sword as the pair added 55 for the first wicket before Burgess was trapped lbw for 23. Ehrlich departed shortly after for 33 but at 84-2 a platform was established for a score of around 250.

However, whilst runs continued to come with ease, a steady procession of Ledbury batsman got themselves in but never went on to get the big score that was needed. Pat Locke looked in fine form before playing on for 17, Embrey was needlessly run out for one and Dan Herbert fell for 11 when looking in prime form.

It was left for the sixth wicket partnership of Tom Locke and Rob Greening to settle the innings and the two added 50 runs in eight overs to move Ledbury onto 161-5 off 30 overs.

A big score was again looming with Locke in particular sending the ball to areas of the ground, however having reached a quick-fire 52 with eight 4s, he holed out the very next ball, and worse followed when Greening played-on the next over.

With Herbert and Duckworth falling cheaply, it was left for Steve Evans and Clive Jones to bat out the rest of the innings with a last wicket stand of 24, but crucially the last 13 overs amassed just 27 runs with Bannerman 4-48 the pick of the bowling.

Ledbury's score of 198 never looked like being enough and as Prime (44) and Davies (35) raced to an opening partnership of 79 in 11 overs and an early finish looked in the offing.

However, when Herbert removed Davies, Ledbury seemed to come alive in the field and with Mark Herbert and Clive Jones bowling tight spells they slowly brought the run-rate down and with it, wickets began to fall.

At 100-3 the match moved into a critical period as Hardie (48) and Bannerman (13) tried to manoeuvre Wormelow into a winning position, at this point Ledbury were frustrated by some dubious lbw decisions and this was compounded by Hardie being dropped twice off straightforward chances.

Rather than to deter Ledbury this seemed to inspire them and the returning Dan Herbert and Maurice Embrey shared two wickets apiece to leave Wormelow 15 runs needed with three wickets in hand and three overs remaining.

They got home off the penultimate ball leaving Ledbury to rue some poor luck and in the main a lack of discipline in their batting.

Ledbury cannot afford any further slip ups and host Ross tomorrow (Saturday) in a match that could see the losers fall out of the promotion race.