Blues feeling prepared for a ‘significant step up’

There were celebrations for Kettering after they claimed the Midlands One East title last season. Now they are ready first their first game in Midlands Premier this weekend
There were celebrations for Kettering after they claimed the Midlands One East title last season. Now they are ready first their first game in Midlands Premier this weekend

There is excitement in the air at Waverley Road as Kettering get ready for their big step up.

The Blues begin life in the Midlands Premier this weekend after they powered their way to the Midlands One East title last season.

It is, as director of rugby Doug Bridgemam describes it, ‘a significant step up’.

But Bridgeman and everyone else at the club are relishing the challenge, which starts with a tough opening-day home clash against Newport (Salop), who finished third last season.

“We are all really looking forward to it,” Bridgeman said.

“At one time it seems a long way off but then, all of a sudden, the first weekend is here and I think we are all excited.

“It’s a fairly significant step up. You only have to look at the number of teams who have gone up and come straight back down to see that.

“You have got to be prepared and hopefully we are. I think we have gradually stepped things up in each pre-season friendly to get us to this point so I think we are in good shape.

“But it’s certainly a tough start for us.

“They finished third in the table last season and I am pretty sure they have recruited quite well.

“It’s good that it’s at home but we will certainly have a fair idea of where we are after this one.”

As far as their own recruitment is concerned, Kettering have been boosted a by a few arrivals from within the local area.

But, in general, they are set to go with the same group who helped secure the title last time out.

“We have had two or three players who have come in from local clubs,” Bridgeman added.

“They are players who want to test themselves at what is obviously a higher level and they have been doing well already.

“But, other than that, it’s mainly the boys who got us there who will get the opportunity to show what they can do.”

The Midlands One East season also gets under way this weekend.

Wellingborough make the trip across the county border to take on Leicestershire while Oundle are also on the road at Olney.