Berwick Rugby Club kick off their new season this weekend with the 1st XV taking on Dalkeith in East League Division 2.
Having seen the team relegated from Division 1 last season, new coach Colin Young says the hope is that they can bounce straight back.
“Having played in the higher echelons not so long ago,” - Berwick reached the heady heights of Premier 2 at one stage - “it has been a painful experience to see the club fall to such a level,” said Young.
“It has been frustrating for the committee and the players, but now the only way is up, and hopefully I can play my part in helping them climb the ladder again.”
Young says that under his control the team will have a different game plan, or style of play, from that instilled in them by former coach Lawrence Paton.
“In pre-season it has been good to see the players so committed, and hopefully that is something we can take on into the competitive season.
“Ideally, we would like to make a winning start and get some points on the board early on. Last season we got off to a poor start and after that we were trying to play catch-up all the time - this season we want to be on the front foot.”
Young says that all the players from last season’s squad are back - they are keen to make amends for the relegation - and they have been boosted by the inclusion of one youngster coming through from the Colts.
But therein lies a problem which Young says currently exists at the club, and in some respects at many other clubs throughout the country.
“There just doesn’t seem to be the strength in depth that there once was,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, we have some good players, some who could play at a higher level, but the numbers just aren’t there.
“When I played I was used to training with 30 players, now we only get about 15 or 16 - and four of them travel from Newcastle every week, so you can’t question their commitment.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t have a good season, but because we are running with such a small squad a lot is going to come down to the players who are available to us, either through injuries or their work commitments.”