NEWBURY BLUES have their final warm-ups before beginning their final South West Premier League campaign with a double header of matches at Monks Lane tonight (Thursday).
Two teams, will kick off, one against Tadley Tigers at 7.30pm and the other half-an-hour later against Havant as Blues’ coaches run the final rule over more than 50 players in advance of the September 2 kick-off at Bournemouth.
Last season’s promotion-winners have been bolstered by a sprinkling of newcomers, with a couple more to come, and as many as possible will be seeing action tonight.
“It doesn’t matter which team,” said head coach Lee Goodall, “there are lots of players who are knocking on the door for a first team place and there are probably six regulars who are not playing tonight.
“The new people who have come in have made a real difference and added pressure and we still have a few more to come in.”
That league return comes against a Bournemouth side seasoned to the level. “They have splashed the cash a little and stuffed Witney 79-7 recently.
“That is going to be a test of the unknown for us and we are getting to the reality that league rugby is only 10 days away.
“But we are fully ready for the challenges ahead. There are some areas to cover, but pre-season has been a success,” he added.
Blues will have a weekend off before the sprint into the unknown and, says Goodall: “Next week is going to be the start of a fantastic journey for us and one that every player should be relishing.
“We are not going to have the biggest side in physicality and we are going to be the only amateur team in the league.
“But we bring something different to the party and it’s exciting all-round.”