BASINGSTOKE RFC will be hoping to get their season off the mark with the visit of Battersea Ironsides in London Three South West.

Head coach Mark Fricker said: “The fact is, despite the clubs player base and numbers to training being high and us regularly being able to put out three teams every week.

“We have been struggling to instantly replace the unprecedented number of senior first team players from last season that have either retired or are now working/living up in the city.”

He added: “We have become a very young and raw team and its going to take time for the players to get to know each other and to gel.

“However, these young players are extremely keen and enthusiastic and I’m hoping that with more hard graft at training and the current crop of players really showing their commitment and dedication to the cause, we can get something out of game against Battersea Ironsides.”

Last Saturday, Stoke went down 93-0 at Old Cranleighans.

After the game Fricker said: “It did not help we were missing some key players from the previous week, the main one being our star new fullback from the academy Leon Williams, and injuries during the game did negatively effect the scoreline, but believe it or not, there were some positives to take from the game.

We were bolstered with the return of Dave Byett in the centres and Tom Jeffery and Gareth Cripps-Jones on the wings. Good news for us going forward.”