Whitchurch coach Scott Sturdy was again left frustrated after his preparations for the new season in rugby’s Midlands Two West (North) were disrupted by the cancellation of another friendly.

After Oswestry pulled out of their first pre-season encounter the week before, the Reds themselves had to cancel their scheduled trip to Droitwich last Saturday because of a lack of numbers.

They are scheduled to play their final friendly against North Wales League side Bethesda at Edgeley Park on Saturday (2.30pm), when the second and third teams also take on Market Drayton in a pre-season outing.

Sturdy said: “It’s very disappointing not to have a game, but it’s one of those things.

“We have a lot of youngsters who want to work in the summer and we also have a big farming community at the club, while many of the players have young families so they can’t really commit until September.

“It’s frustrating as we’ve had good numbers for training, shown good intensity, and we’ve been working hard on our attacking structure as we know we need to score more points this season if we’re going to win the league.

“You can train as much as you like, though, but it’s not the same as having a competitive game.

“We’ve now got just one friendly against Bethesda on Saturday, which is far from ideal, so we have to get as much out of it as we can before the season starts.”

Ironically, Whitchurch’s first game will be away to Droitwich in the first round of the North Mids Shield on Saturday, September 2.

It promises to be stern test as Droitwich had a 100 per cent record in winning the Midlands 3 West (South) last term, while they also reached the final of the RFU Senior Vase at Twickenham where they lost to Farnham.

The Reds start life in Midlands Two West (North) with an opening-day visit to Cleobury Mortimer the following Saturday.

Meanwhile, Sturdy has moved to further strengthen his hand with the arrival of versatile back row forward Paul Jones, who is formerly of Tata Steel.

He will join another new signing, highly-rated fly half/centre Callum Mokaraka, who will arrive at the club in early September.

The 20-year-old was born in New Zealand but has played both rugby league and rugby union in Australia.