BASINGSTOKE and Mid Hants AC get their British Athletics League National Two campaign under way with a home fixture at Down Grange on Saturday.

The club’s men’s team were relegated from National One at the end of last season, but hopes are high within the camp that they may be able to bounce straight back.

Club chairman Chris Blow said: “We have dropped down a league but we are hoping to challenge for promotion again this season.

“There seems to be a big difference between the standard of National One and National Two, so we should be able to hold our own in this division, if not be in the mix for promotion again.”

Basingstoke will line up against teams from Bristol, Derby, Harrow, Kingston, Notts, Southampton and Southend this season, with the first match taking place at Down Grange from 12.30pm on Saturday.

Admission is free for spectators, and Blow would like to see a big crowd for the second BAL meeting to be held at the track following its expansion to eight lanes.

“We are all looking forward to it,” the chairman said. “We are not charging people to come and watch, so I would encourage people to come down and see some top-quality athletics. It would be nice to see a big crowd at Down Grange to cheer our team on to a good performance.”

Andy Blow, the son of the chairman, will be hoping to maintain his excellent BAL record at 110m hurdles, while sprinter Kieran Showler-Davis and top decathletes Ben Hazell, Sam Sleap and Dean Showler-Davis could also feature.

Chris Blow said: “We have got quite a strong team for the match. It’s early in the season, so a few guys are unavailable, but we are at home, so we are hoping to have most of our big hitters out.”