The Rugby World Cup may be just around the corner, but for many players the season starts on Saturday with the first round of league fixtures for Hope Valley RFC.
The club begin their second season in the Raging Bull NW Division Four East with a visit to Ashton-on-Mersey, who should provide a stern, early season test following their relegation from Division Three North.
Led by re-elected club captain Ben Somerton, Valley will hoping that the experience gained by their young squad during last season’s creditable sixth place finish will stand them in good stead for the coming season.
But they will have to cope with the loss of influential fly half, Dave Ryder, who has suffered a long-term injury.
The game, to be played at Ashton’s Banky Lane ground (M33 5SL), will kick off at 3pm.