NEW Ludlow Cricket Club skipper Louis Watkins fears the 2020 season will be a ‘write-off’ with no league action the entire summer.

The Shropshire League, like others up and down the country following England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) guidance, has suspended the start of its season in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

That suspension is indefinite and Watkins, whose Ludlow side should have kicked off their Premier Division campaign just under a fortnight ago, fears it may turn into a complete cancellation.

Watkins, who has taken over the captaincy from Ruel Brathwaite at Burway, admitted: “To be honest, I don’t think there is going to be any cricket this season.

“Looking at what’s going on with the professional game, where they are not going to start until the end of July, I can’t see how they are going to play leagues at our level of cricket.

“Even if they can get it up and running at some stage, there won’t be enough time for a league, it would just be friendly games or round robin tournaments.

“I just can’t see it happening – unfortunately we are just going to have to write this year off. It’s a shame because we’re having some nice weather that would be ideal for cricket.”

Ludlow had lined up an overseas player for this summer – a South African wicketkeeper/batsman – but Watkins does not know whether that signing will now be deferred to next year or annulled.

“It’s a shame,” he added, “as the league is getting stronger and it would have been good to see how we got on as we’ve got some good youngsters coming through but obviously it’s out of our hands.”

Over in the Worcestershire League, both Cleobury Mortimer and Tenbury Wells were looking forward to playing in higher divisions after each achieved promotions last summer.

They must wait for that to become a reality but Mortimer skipper Sam Evans – whose side have gone up to Division Seven – believes the game’s absence will make the heart grow fonder.

“We should be two weeks into the season now,” he said wistfully. “But we are getting regular updates and newsletters from the league which is helpful in addressing the players.

“There’s no given timeline for the season to start which is a shame because every club is in the same boat – everyone just wants to play cricket.

“We don’t know when that time will come, or if it will come at all. Hopefully we will get some cricket played this season but the priorities lie elsewhere.

“I’m hoping the loss of cricket over these months might reignite people’s love for the game because they will miss it so much that they can’t wait to play again.”