Newly-promoted Whitchurch face an appetising first outing on their return to the Midlands One West when they host Droitwich at Edgeley Park on Saturday, September 1.

The rivals will need no introductions, with the Reds coming face to face with the only side that defeated them in last season's triumphant campaign.

That 19-7 loss came in the Midlands final of the RFU Intermediate Cup last March which denied Whitchurch a chance of reaching a Twickenham showpiece final.

The two sides had also met in the first competitive action of last season back in August which saw the Reds on that occasion run out 29-26 winners in the first round of the North Mids Shield.

They are now thrown together in the league opener following respective promotions, and Whitchurch coach Scott Sturdy will be looking for the team to lay down an early marker by avenging their disappointing Intermediate Cup loss.

"It's a massive game to start with, and will be a really good test for us," he said. "It will be keenly anticipated, and we need to make sure we prepare as well as possible.

"The league looks very strong, and it's going to be a challenging year back at this level for us.

"Last season, we had a purple patch between January and March when we blew teams away, and we're going to need to recreate that kind of form if we are to do well this season.

"We need to be rock solid at home, look to win all those games, and then be competitive away from home."

The Reds can go into the new campaign in confident mood, having won all 22 league games in lifting the Midlands Two West (north) title last term to write their names in club folklore.

They returned to training last Thursday night as the build-up to the new season gets underway in earnest.

The team's first friendly is at home to Telford on Saturday, August 4, while two weeks later (on August 18) they visit West Midlands side Veseyans. The club are still looking for a warm-up game on August 11.

After hosting Droitwich in their first league action on September 1, the Reds are away to Dudley Kingswinford the following week on September 8.

Sturdy has kept the majority of last season's squad, although one or two players may miss the first month or so because of work commitments

The 14 teams making up the Midlands One West next season are: Bromsgrove, Newbold-on-Avon, Old Halesonians, Malvern, Longton, Moseley Oak, Stoke-on-Trent, Stourbridge Lions, Hereford, Sutton Coldfield, Dudley Kingswinford, Whitchurch, Droitwich and Worcester.