Stowmarket head coach Nigel Brown hopes a year of experience in London Two North East will allow his side to thrive this season.
Having gained back-to-back promotions to reach that level, Stow struggled for periods last term, but came good towards the end to secure their status.
But with his young players knowing what to expect when the 2013/14 kicks off at home to Norwich tomorrow (3pm), Brown has targeted further improvement.
“I’d like to finish well in the top half of the division this year,” he said. “I also want to bring on the youngsters in the club and get everybody enjoying it — that’s not just the lads playing, but those watching as well.
“We want to play fun, attractive rugby. We have got 18 and 19-year-olds with a season of experience in this league now.”
Although Stowmarket — who play their home matches at Chilton Fields in the town — have lost Tim Mann and Danny Garrad to Bury, they have recruited Stowmarket residents Brad James — who will also be the club’s forwards coach — and Charlie Eaton from Ipswich.
Youngsters Nathan Acheson — who plays at full-back or on the wing — and centre Max Crowe are among those who have progressed from the youth set-up into the first-team squad for this season, bolstering numbers and giving Brown welcome selection headaches.
The head coach added: “We’ve recruited a couple of lads and what is also good from a local point of view is the colts lads who have come into the senior set-up have shone in our pre-season games.”
Tomorrow’s opening opponents Norwich are new to the league following promotion and Brown is expecting a well-contested game to kick their season off in style.
“Like us, I think they have a good nucleus of young lads,” he said. “With a bit of luck, we will get the edge and come away with the points.”
n Mildenhall and Red Lodge host May and Barker, from Romford, Essex, in the first round of the RFU Junior Vase tomorrow (3pm) and host Haverhill in their opening Eastern Counties League Division Two match a week later.