WEM captain Sam Peate believes his side are in a strong position to retain their Shropshire County Cricket League Premier Division.

The north Shropshire side sit second in the league table behind Worfield, and still boast a 100 per cent win rate from their fixtures so far.

Out of the eight scheduled fixtures, two have been rained off, with the side winning the remaining six playable league games.

Their successful start has taken them to the semi-finals of the 20/20 Senior Slam competition.

Peate reflected on the opening few fixtures and gave credit to the team’s performances so far.

“To be in the position we are after eight games is great – we really can’t complain,” he said.

“The two games we have had rained off are unfortunate, but we can’t do anything about the weather.

“The six games we have played, we’ve won, which is fantastic.

“On top of that we’re in the semi-finals of the 20/20 Senior Slam competition.

“We haven’t quite been at our best in every game, but we have found different ways to win at times, which is sometimes needed at this level.”

With their start to the season bettered only by Worfield, the defending champions are hoping to retain their title, however Peate acknowledges the league’s standard has improved once again.

He said: “The standard definitely seems to have stepped up again.

“Last year there were a few teams near the bottom of the table which we felt very confident of beating nine times out of 10, but that isn’t the case this season.

“Anyone can beat anyone at the moment and that’s quite clear with Worfield losing to St Georges the other week.

“It shows there aren’t any results we can take for granted.”

Despite this, the skipper believes his side should be settling for nothing less than retaining their title this season, and hopes they will do so should their performances continue in the same vein of form.

“We should definitely be looking to win the league again this season especially after a good start,” he added.

“With being defending champions, we should always be aiming to win it.

“The fact we’re still up near the very top of the table after having two games rained off shows we’ve been doing very well. I do feel as though Worfield are still the side to beat this season. They strengthened very well at the start of the season.

“It will be an interesting game when we come up against them in a few weeks’ time.

“It’s the type of fixture we want to be playing in in this division.

“They are a very good side with good players.

“I’m sure it will be a good battle like it was between ourselves and Quatt last season.”

Peate gave a special mention to team-mate Tom Astley, and labelled the all-rounder as the best in the league at what he does.

Peate said: “Tom has really stepped up this season and is performing consistently well with the bat and ball.

“I’d go as far as saying he is the best all-rounder in the league.

“He’s proved to be a big difference for us.

“No-one has gone out and won games on their own, which is a good thing for us; it shows we’re working well as a team.”

Looking ahead, Wem take on local rivals Whitchurch on Saturday.

Whitchurch currently lie sixth in the table after moving into the division from the Birmingham League structure last season.

Peate hopes his side can put in another solid performance to overcome their opposition and keep their winning streak alive.

He said: “Obviously it’s a local derby so it’s going to be an intense fixture but a good one and one we’re looking forward to.

“If we play as we have been playing so far this season and continue with the positive cricket we have been displaying, I don’t see why we can go out there and get the win.

“Obviously, they’re a good team, but in knowing that we shouldn’t fear them.

“It’s definitely shaping up to be a good game.”