ASTWOOD Bank begin a new era in the club’s history as they head into their first ever season in the Birmingham and District League Division.

The Worcestershire County League Champions will play their first ever game at this level on Saturday when they tackle Millford Hall at home (noon start).

Captain Stephen Adshead says the entire club is looking forward to testing themselves.

He said: “It’s an exciting time for the club.

“It’s a walk into the unknown, we don’t really know the other teams or players so we’re looking forward to the test.

“There’s definitely a buzz around the club. Astwood is a small village and if you pop into a pub or the shop everyone wants to talk about the team’s success.”

Astwood will certainly go into the league on a roll on the back of last year’s title winning success and they have kept faith with the squad which delivered so emphatically.

The only new addition is South African batsman Brandon Miller, who had played for Studley in the Birmingham League for many years.

Adshead said: “We had five or six players who got in contact and wanted to join but we didn’t want to change too much.

“The club has collective attitude and ethos. You can come down on a Friday night and ten first team guys will be training juniors.

“Too many new faces may well interrupt that but we felt Brandon was of the right quality.

“I’ve known him for years, in fact I am one of the reasons when he moved from South Africa that he played for Studley. He’s a quality player and will certainly add to what we’ve already got.”

The first six games of the season will be played in the win or lose one day international format.

With four teams relegated from Division Three, which is made up of 12 teams, Astwood will be hoping to avoid a relegation battle.

The skipper added: “This is a tough division to stay in and we will also have to get used to the ODI format, if you can make a strong start it can set the tone.”