Bridgeman wary of improved Newark

Kettering score one of their eight tries during the 55-0 thrashing of Matlock
Kettering score one of their eight tries during the 55-0 thrashing of Matlock

Kettering were quickly out of the blocks last weekend as they opened their Midlands One East campaign with a 55-0 thumping of Matlock.

Next up for the Blues this weekend is a trip to face Newark who opened their season with an excellent win at Ilkeston.

The Nottinghamshire outfit narrowly avoided relegation last season but Kettering coach Doug Bridgeman believes they will a different proposition this time around.

He said: “They had to rely on results going their way on the last day to avoid going down but they’ve recruited a number of players.

“To win away at Ilkeston, who were one of the best sides in the league last year, was no mean feat and they will be a much harder team to beat this time.”

The Blues have been forced into making a couple of changes with Jamie Manley and Joe Danile replaced by Ollie Barnes and Kieran Cox.

In Midlands Two East (South), Wellingborough open their season with a trip to Dunstablians for what director of rugby George Shipman thinks will be a tough assignment.

“The last couple of years we’ve started with Dunstablians so we know what they’re all about.

“They’ve got a new coach, they’re always difficult to play against and it’s usually a physical game when you play them.”

Rushden & Higham begin life at a higher level when they travel to Leicester Forest in the same division.

In Midlands Three East (South), S&L visit Daventry while in Midlands Four East (South), Corby host St Neots while Oundle visit Kempston.