Towcestrians fought back from 14-0 down to beat Bedford Athletic 19-14 and ensure life in National League Three Midlands began on a high.
After winning promotion last season, Tows initially struggled against Midlands 1 champions Bedford but their hard work in pre-season eventually paid off in this battle of the newly-promoted teams.
After the game, director of rugby Robbie George said: “The first quarter was tentative and full of mistakes, which gave them the ball and they rightly punished us.
“But once we settled down we kept the ball well and were able to go through the phases, the self-belief came and we looked like our old selves.
“It was a big day for the squad and we’re delighted with how the boys responded.”
Needing time to acclimatize to the pace and pressure at National League 3, Tows made a nervous and tentative start as Bedford raced out of the blocks to lead 14-0 with less than a third of the game gone.
That’s when Tows came alive and got some front foot ball and after some great work from hooker Fen Gallagher, the pack drove the excellent Jamie Warr over between the posts, converted by Ben Roe to cut the deficit to seven points.
With Tows now looking to run the ball, a quickly taken tap penalty was illegally halted by an Ath front rower, who was carded and sent to the bin, and Tows took advantage when skipper Zac Osborne was driven over.
Now trailing by just two, it was Tows’ turn to use the elements to their advantage in the second-half, and a stolen scrum ball and quick pass found Alex Chalcraft coming in off his wing to score and get his season up and running.
Roe added the extras to put Tows 19-14 ahead and although pressing for the remainder of the game, they failed to find the bonus point.
Bedford always looked capable of a breakout try and the final whistle came as much as relief as anything else, with a special mention for the excellent back row and Man of the Match, No. 8 Craig Holton.
This week’s away game against Nuneaton has been switched to Towcestrians.
Tows 2nd XV, also playing in a new league, went down to Hinckley 24-10, while the IIIs kicked off with a 37-7 friendly win against Winslow.