EVERY new season brings fresh optimism for all sports teams, and 2018/2019 is no different for Salisbury’s Senior Mens and Womens teams.

With high hopes of bouncing straight back to the National Leagues last season, a final position of 5th might look like a poor return, but Richard Lloyd, Director of Senior Rugby highlighted at the club’s July AGM the depth of talent at the club.

An unusually high number represented Salisbury’s 1st XV during last year’s campaign, affecting the consistency of selection required for a promotion run, but highlighting the large number of individuals capable of performing at that level.

With the top three teams all facing tougher opposition this time round, that talent pool is going to be tested.

The return of John Kimberley as lead coach alongside Michael Bamsey and former 1st XV skipper Liam Gilbert, has delivered a solid pre-season leading up to an opening league fixture on September 1, against Gloucester side, Old Centralians.

A home game in front of a vociferous vice-presidents crowd is an ideal way for the club to open their account. On the same day our second and third teams, the United and “A” XV, travel to Trowbridge.

Both have consistently challenged for top honours in their Dorset & Wilts leagues, and top 3 places will be their target along with continued success in the cup, both teams having lifted their respective trophy in the last 2 seasons. With a fourth team, The Stones, and an occasional veteran for the over 35s, we will continue to devote as much effort to the social side of playing for Salisbury as the serious business of winning games.

The women’s section are looking for a breakthrough year, continuing to build playing numbers and fixtures to establish themselves in the league structure the following season. Under the leadership of Laura Nicholson and coach Greg Leadshom, they will kick-off with another “Inner Warrior” event on Saturday, September 8. This is part of a national programme to develop the women’s game, with an open invitation for anyone to come along and give it a try. Followed by a drink and a meal you will also start to understand the social side of rugby that keeps people coming back.