Influential Spalding RFC skipper Harry Sharman has challenged his side to bounce back from their relegation with an unbeaten season.
Three months have passed since Town dropped out of Midlands One East on the final day of a roller-coaster campaign, which saw a slow start cost them dear.
The Memorial Field club spent years trying to get into that division – and made no bones about the fact they wanted to stay there.
But Sharman is keen to put a positive spin on his first relegation as captain and feels a squad packed full of talented youngsters will benefit from a successful season.
“We struggled at times last year,” said the Town stalwart. “It’s a tough league, but we really felt we could have done much better.
“It’s time to move on, though. We’ve got a good young squad and probably go into next season as favourites.
“That’s not to say it’ll be easy, but the lads have the ability and confidence to back that tag up. I’ve spoken to the coaches and we see no reason why can’t go the entire league season unbeaten. It won’t be easy, but I think it’s do-able.”
While this season will mark a small step back for Town, it’s a landmark one for Sharman.
He’s set to begin his fifth campaign as captain – which places him second on the club’s all-time leaderboard.
He’ll be aided by reigning player of the season Ryan Chappell, who has stepped up to vice captain for 2013/14.
Sadly, they’ll no longer be working alongside respected coach Ben Hauserman. The player/coach has been forced to step down due to family reasons.
But popular Niall Thomson is staying on in his role as coach – and he’s joined by former RAF coach Andy McHahon, who has made a big impression in pre-season.
Sharman added: “Ben’s obviously a massive loss to the club. He’ll be missed on and off the field and we all wish him the best in the future.
“Andy has been with us for five weeks and he’s really put us through our paces. It’s been tough, but very enjoyable.
“As for me, I suppose it is a bit of a milestone. I’m pleased to have Ryan as vice, he had a great season last time around and has the squad’s respect.”
Sharman expects Loughborough and Oakham to be Town’s chief rivals next term, but is also looking forward to a derby with Stamford.
Their first Midlands Two East (North) game is at Ashbourne on September 14.