A bruising, challenging test against Medway — a team who finished in the upper echelons of London 1 last season — was a good way to start, with convincing victories over Whitstable and Vigo just two days apart setting the team on the right track.
Both those wins gave us plenty to work on — with plenty of opportunities going begging as a new side began to gel — and no one is in any doubt that Saturday’s opener against Sheppey will be a far tougher test.
The islanders are coming off the back of a record-breaking season. After finishing top of the pecking order and unbeaten in Kent 1 they’ll be hungry for similar success at a higher level and beginning their season with a win at home will be a priority for them.
But the mood in the changing room and clubhouse over the last week has been hugely positive and points to a club in a good place.
Lewis Goodrich showcased a lot of potential during his shift on the wing against Medway, more than stepping up to the mark against a certain ex-Bulls player, while Sam Proctor and Michael ‘Whacko Jacko’ Jackson both proved 10s come in all shapes and sizes, with the former even veeting his chest in preparation.
Physical performances from Liam Ingram (centre) against Whitstable and Ben Turner (flanker) against anyone who got on his bad side were a joy to watch, while James O’Doherty (second row) went from never having picked up a rugby ball to mayor of boshville in a fortnight, single-handedly taking on a Medway front row which certainly wasn’t lacking in size.
Pete Webdale (back impersonator) continued to dot down left, right and centre, while we welcomed Nathan Fitzpatrick (flanker/front row) to the club and Kieran Gray (second row) from the academy.
Old faces also made a return, with James Savignon (flanker) and Marcus Geer (wing) slotting back into the fold comfortably, while Phil Wilkins (flanker) made his annual return from a seemingly never-ending university course.
Last year we surprised ourselves on more than a few occassions, despite having a torrid time in the proceeding 12 months. The current injury crisis certainly won’t be the only challenge we face this time round, but we wouldn’t be the same club without at least a sprinkle of adversity to overcome.