A WORCESTERSHIRE League restructure means Tenbury Wells CC begin the 2019 season in a much lower division than they played last year.

Initially, Tenbury – who played in Worcestershire Four last season – were offered a place in Division Six.

But having struggled for numbers last term, finishing fourth-bottom, Tenbury requested to drop into Division Nine which was scheduled to hold ten teams instead of 12.

The league agreed but has since expanded the division back to 12 teams, negating Tenbury’s reasoning for dropping down in the first place.

New skipper Ben Thompson, whose side host Ombersley thirds in Saturday’s curtain-raiser, admitted the saga has not been ideal but expects Tenbury to challenge for promotion.

Thompson said: “If I can get the team I want out each week we will be far too strong for the league we are in but unfortunately there is no guarantee of how many senior players will be available each week.

“The first couple of weeks may be tough given the football season is still going but there are a number of promising second XI players that will be pushing hard for a first-team spot this year.”

Cleobury Mortimer CC, meanwhile, will play in Division Eight after returning to the Worcestershire set-up following two seasons in the Marches League and they open with a trip to Astwood Bank fourths.

Skipper Sam Evans said: “We enjoyed the Marches League and thank them for their hospitality but travelling is always a big issue when you have players with young families.

“Having games closer to home makes it a bit more appealing and hopefully will help draw a few more players in.

“We know we can play at a higher standard but the league has been restructured so we have to prove our capabilities.

“Granted, we don’t know the quality we’re up against but we would back ourselves to be up there challenging for promotion.”