WITH the disappointment of last season's relegation from London 1 South now just a distant memory, Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club head into this campaign full of optimism.
Wells accepted they weren't going to stay up early last season, so decided to blood some of the younger talent at the club in readiness for the rigours of London 2 South East rugby and now the St Mark's outfit are looking to reap the benefits of the move.
A number of new, experienced acquisitions have come to the club and with an impressive pre-season under their belts, Wells can't wait for tomorrow's trip to Lewes, who finished third last season.
"We have brought in five or six new players, which means we have more depth to our squad this season," coach Jim Scully said.
"I am pleased how the new players have settled in and everyone seems confident, but not over confident, about this season.
"We are still quite a young squad, although it is quite well experienced at the same time – we still have that youth.
"We have very young half-backs, which means we like to play exciting, quick rugby – I try to rein them in sometimes! We are very fast in the off-load and will be good to watch."
Wells have been busy in terms to bringing players in – six have joined the already talented, young, vibrant squad.
In come New Zealanders, second rower Ben Heenan and centre Ben Paton – both have been playing a high level of rugby in Australia. Also former player Alex Threfell returns from Westcombe Park, back rower John Burns joins from the same club, hooker James Burke makes the move from TJs and Blackheath's Dan Frost is the last of the additions.
Iain Bartley remains as first-team captain.
Moving a league down means Wells will be playing more teams from the surrounding areas – Heathfield and Waldron, Aylesford, East Grinstead and Sevenoaks – so the rivalry will be more intense.
So what is the goal for Tunbridge Wells this season?
"We have always said this season would be one of consolidation – it is about being competitive," Scully said.
"We will see where we are after three or four weeks and go from there. We haven't played in this league in a few years so will have to see how things go. We are looking forward to the season ahead."
First team manager Tom Callaway shares Scully's positive outlook and feels Wells are in for a successful campaign.
"The squad of players we have got this year, is fitter and much more aggressive," he said. "It much be a cliché, but we are one big family – the squad is so together as a group of players. We have recruited very well in positions that we felt we needed to and we have a young side that is exciting and powerful."
It all starts tomorrow at Lewes, kick-off 3pm.