LUDLOW Hockey Club face a baptism of fire in their West Midlands Premier debut this weekend but skipper Sam Pratt says they are just looking forward to picking up their sticks again.

After the final two games of last season were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ludlow finished third in West Midlands One and were promoted after a team in the league above withdrew.

They visit Barford Tigers seconds – the reserves of a National League side – in Saturday’s curtain-raiser for the new campaign and Pratt admits survival is the main priority this term.

“It will be good to get back at it but it will be a hard season because we have gone up a league and Barford is a tough start, they are a strong team,” said Pratt.

Meanwhile, new Ludlow Ladies skipper Georgie Morris was hugely impressed with her side after they began the Shropshire League season by beating Shrewsbury seconds 1-0.

Ludlow dominated throughout, with winger Pip Braden shining, and were rewarded when Morris’s strong stick stop from a short corner set up Julie Chamberlain to score the winner.

“Our confidence on the ball is much improved and I can’t wait to see the progress we make during this season,” said Morris, whose side visit Bridgnorth thirds this Saturday.