LUDLOW Colts and Tenbury United are hoping for memorable seasons after restarting football with a 2-2 friendly draw – but both admitted they were buzzing just to be kicking a ball again.

Mark Boucker’s cool finish put United ahead but Ludlow turned the game on its head with Sol Barker’s solo effort and Ethan Millard’s 20-yard rocket before Ryan Morris earned Tenbury a draw.

Both sides were happy with the workout as each prepares – Ludlow in the Premier Division and United in Division One – for the start of the Herefordshire League season on September 5.

“Thank God!” was Ludlow Colts boss Mark Tonkinson’s reaction to getting back on the pitch after more than four months without grassroots football due to the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown.

“Everybody was up for it – it had been a long time coming,” he added. “It was great to be back out there and everybody is geared up for the start of the season.”

Tenbury United player-manager Aaron Morris added: “I could tell we are still a way away from full fitness but it was a good workout against a Ludlow side from a league above us.

“It was definitely enjoyable – there was a nice buzz about the team and I am feeling quite positive about this year. For a first friendly, I was pleased and there were a lot of positives to take.”

Each side also had to get used to social distancing measures, including players getting changed in their own cars or on the side of the pitch, no handshakes and ‘track and trace’ for spectators.

“It was a bit weird,” added Morris. “But you have to take these measures and we did everything we needed to, to make sure we followed the guidelines the FA has set

Dean Richards scored Church Stretton’s goal as they started their pre-season programme with a 4-1 defeat at higher-league Wem Town.

Stretton will visit Bishops Castle Town this Saturday, the same day as Ludlow FC begin their friendlies by welcoming Newent Town and Shawbury United visit Uttoxeter Town.

Tenbury Town’s first pre-season fixture will be a trip to Ludlow Colts Reserves on Sunday (2.30pm) before hosting Hinton Reserves on Wednesday night (7pm).