CRICKET clubs across Montgomeryshire have spent the week finishing off ground improvements ahead of the new season.

The cricket season had been left in limbo following the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions which saw sport and mass gatherings banned.

Cricket clubs in England were given the green light to step up preparations last month and clubs in Wales were given permission by the Welsh Government last week.

Since clubs have been hurriedly completing ground work and field maintenance ahead of the start of the Henshalls Shropshire League season which will commence next weekend.

Due to four months of the season being lost the league will run with smaller divisions next season.

The composition of the leagues have been designed to reduce travelling and means a mouthwatering few weeks of derby matches.

Alberbury and Newtown have been included in the same first division mini league while Montgomery will be competing in the second division with trips to nearby Ellesmere and Oswestry IIs on the cards.

However it is the Wales and West third division which is likely to attract most interest.

Welshpool and Bishops’ Castle are joined by Guilsfield, Llanidloes as well as the second strings from Montgomery and Welshpool.

Meanwhile Alberbury IIs and Welshpool IIs compete in the Border fourth division against the likes of Chirk IIs and Pontesbury IIs.

Newtown Cricket Club chairman praised hard working volunteers and club personnel for their enterprise in bringing the Recreation Ground up to shape for the start of the season.

He said: “The lads have worked hard to get things ready.

“As for the season, we start Saturday with a game between club members and the week Saturday when I presume a segregated league will commence.

“Our captain’s this season are Ally Laird and Richard Smout.

“We have no new signings as such and Richard intends to use several talented youth players in the seconds line up.

“Everyone is geared up to start playing. The bar will be open for consumption in the grounds.”