OKEHAMPTON RFC had a successful 2015-16 season achieving promotion to the RFU Level South West one league. The coming season will be a challenging one for the club but the players are up for it and already training hard to attain a high level of fitness and preparation under head coach Gareth Evans.

Travelling further afield for games will be a feature of the new season, with many of the other clubs in this league situated around Bristol, Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean. The last time the club achieved promotion to this level was about 20 years ago and lasted only one season. This time the target is to consolidate the club’s position for an extended period.

Part of the preparation is a pre-season game at Newbury RFC and there is a Possibles v Probables game at the club on Saturday, August 27. The season starts in earnest on Saturday, September 3, when the club hosts North Somerset side Clevedon RFC.

Dave Potter, ORFC secretary, told Times Sport: ‘Another notable milestone for the club is reached this year. It is the 70th anniversary of the return of rugby to Okehampton following the Second World War.

‘Father of the club Ted Cann played in that game. Ted said that it was extremely difficult to re-establish the club following the war. Some of the pre-war players had not yet been released from the armed forces so the club had to rely on boys still at school to field a team.

‘There was no proper kit and changing facilities could at best be described as primitive. The pre-war pitch had been requisitioned for house building so the club had to play in Simmons Park, sharing the playing area with Okehampton Argyle FC.

‘The club has gone through many phases of development since then, a process that continues today with the Pitches Project which seeks to improve the playing facilities if the club. The back pitch has had new drainage installed this summer and will hopefully be available for use in October.

‘Building on the success of last season the club has been joined by several new players to strengthen the squad. Richard Friend and Kevin Dennis, who both left the club to play at a higher level have returned to their roots.’