EAST Lancashire Paper Mill's hopes of easing their relegation worries were dashed when they lost to fellow strugglers Elton Vale on Saturday.

The defeat left the Radcliffe men fourth bottom, level on points with the two teams below them, Elton Vale and Micklehurst.

With two to go down from the Greater Manchester League Division Two A, it now looks to be a straight fight between those three sides to avoid the second relegation spot with bottom club Clifton seconds appearing to be too far adrift to get out of trouble.

On Saturday ELPM's 126 off 29 overs was eclipsed by Elton Vale with four wickets to spare, Ian Wade top scoring with 38 and Adam Sajewicz hitting 17 not out late on for the Radcliffe side who travel to fifth-placed Littleborough Lakeside on Saturday.

Captain Paul Hewart said: "It was a very disappointing result.

"We won the toss and elected to bat, and a mixture of poor shots and indifferent bounce was the main cause our total was not higher.

"Apart from Ian Wade and Adam Sajewicz there weren’t many other useful contributions.

"A poor start with the ball, aided by 31 extras didn’t help, but we felt we had a chance when Elton Vale were 87-5.

"Two or three decisions didn’t go our way.

"Matthew Smalley bowled quite tight for his 2-31 off 10 overs, but the game eventually slipped away.

"We go again against Littleborough Lakeside on Saturday and I honestly feel if we play to our potential on any given weekend we can beat anyone."