LUDLOW CC skipper Louis Watkins believes the Burway boys could “surprise a few” in this season’s Shropshire League – but admits they are just buzzing to be back out at the crease.

The Premier Division campaign kicks off this Saturday with Ludlow visiting Newport in their curtain-raiser.

Last season’s league was voided due to the coronavirus pandemic and although a mini-competition was held later in the summer, Watkins says Ludlow cannot wait to get back to the real thing.

“There’s a lot of people who have been locked up for six months and just can’t wait to get out and do a bit of activity really,” the skipper said.

“So there’s a lot of people who are looking forward to it whereas last year it was quite tough to get people motivated to play because there was so much uncertainty.

“But this year it seems things are good to go. It’s been a long time coming. A lot of people, they don’t just play cricket, they play all sports.

“So to not play any sport at all really competitively for the last year or so, there’s a lot of people champing at the bit.”

Newport finished above Ludlow in last year’s mini group and were two places higher, in sixth, in the 2019 season, so Watkins feels the opener will be a decent test.

He added: “It will be a good challenge for us – I don’t think it will be a high-scoring game, I think it might be fairly low-scoring with everyone a bit out of practice!

“It’s just going to be good to get out and play. Obviously we want to be mid-table or above and we believe we’ve got a good enough team to do that. We might surprise a few.

“We are happy with the squad we’ve got and there’s not many changes but commitment is a lot better and people want to play more.”

The Shropshire League’s lower divisions begin the following Saturday, with Bishops Castle in Division Four, Church Stretton in Division Five and Corvedale in Division Seven.

The Worcestershire League also begins this Saturday, with Cleobury Mortimer visiting Cookley in Division Seven.