Towcestrians kicked off the new South West One East season with a gritty 25-12 victory over Devizes at Greens Norton Road.
A large crowd was in attendance and a sense of anticipation was felt throughout all of those involved with the club as they look to go one step further than last year when they narrowly missed out on promotion.
Their season began poorly, however, with experienced centre Mark Yeates forced out of the game after picking up an injury in the warm-up.
The match took a while to get going as both sides struggled to shake off their summer rustiness, but Tows were first to strike when centre Will Dunkley broke through the Devizes line and found Eugene Baxter, who popped the ball up to Fen Gallagher and the hooker crashed over the line for an opening try.
James Falvey added the extras before the visitors turned the tide and dominated possession and hammered away at the Tows defence, resulting in a try for their fly half who then levelled the scores.
Tows’ luck worsened as the game progressed, losing their second centre of the day through injury before finding themselves under some intense pressure and Devizes capitalised on their opportunity to take the lead.
In the dying embers of the half, Tows wasted numerous good field positions but they did reduce the deficit to just two through a Falvey penalty.
The hosts came out revitalised after the interval and retook the lead through the boot of Falvey before they started to dominate at the set piece, highlighted by Joe Chambers’ try.
Things only got worse for the visitors, poor discipline began to creep into the team as one of their players was yellow carded to heap on the pressure.
The Tows pack used this as an opportunity to drive the opposition over and allow scrum half Dave Stocks to dot down. Falvey added the extras to giveTows an ugly but welcome winning start to the season.
Towcestrians are away at Grove this weekend.
Elsewhere, Tows IIs beat Wellingborough IIs 21-12 and the Colts defeated South Leicester.