NEWBURY BLUES are going west to get back into action this week when they kick off their pre-season programme at National Three South West Newton Abbot in Devon.
Blues are spending the weekend in Exeter and will be taking on the All Whites, who finished just outside the relegation places last season when Old Patesians, Old Centralians and Chippenham fell to join Blues in South West One East this season.
“It will be a good test of where we are in relation to last season,” said Blues head coach Lee Goodall, whose squad will make the weekend break from regular training and at the start of a three-match warm-up period before the league kick-off at Reading Abbey on September 3.
Blues have lost two of last season’s squad to work issues, scrum half Andy Herriott and number eight Matt Horne, “but,” says Goodall, “we’ve kept 95 per cent of the squad and have a few new faces as well, some with National League experience who have moved into the area.
“We’ve had good numbers at training and we have hopes of fielding three teams this season.”
After Saturday’s game in Devon, Blues are at home to Soouth West One West newcomers Okehampton on Saturday, August 20 when the second XV face their Bracknell counterparts, and they wind up the warm-up at home to London Two South West Winchester on Wednesday, August 24.
Thatcham also see pre-season action on Saturday when they send two teams to Windsor while Tadley Tigers kick off next Thursday evening when Hook and Odiham visit Red Lane for a friendly.