Melton RFC have been bolstered by returning homegrown talent as they prepare for life back in Midlands Two level.
The First XV begin their 2015/16 campaign on Saturday when they host Oadby Wyggestonians in their Midlands Two East (South) opener with last season’s success still fresh in the memory banks.
They completed the league campaign unbeaten, winning the title and promotion, and reached the national semi-finals of the RFU Senior Vase.
The club has retained the bulk of the squad which served up one of the best seasons in the club’s history, and, crucially, the services of captain Marcus Badham and head coach Gareth Collins.
One of the most notable additions is the return of former Melton RFC colt Matt Cox, who has been playing fly-half for Newark, as well as Lee Miller who has returned from South Leicester and is expected to add bite to the back row.
Club president Rob Goldthorpe said: “It will undoubtedly be a tougher challenge as our success from previous matches is well-known locally and we have several matches against some tough Leicestershire sides.
“But there is strong competition for places in the starting line-up with some real strength in depth.”
The First XV have played three pre-season trial games with encouragingly emphatic wins against Coalville (64-5), Southwell (62-0) and Loughborough (32-0).
Melton open against Oadby whom they have not faced in the league for many years (kick-off 3pm) and follow this seven days later with an eagerly-anticipated early season derby against Oakham.