WELSHPOOL begins its 50th season with plenty of reasons for optimism and will be looking to continue the gradual improvement seen over the past few seasons.

Division Two North presents a strong challenge, with last season’s results suggesting a relegation fight in the offing but it is one the club’s coaches are confident the side can meet.

“We’ve been working on a new style of play that is still new to the players and while we’re well aware that this will take some time to bed in the long-term benefits are worth the effort that put in to make it happen” said coach Daley Jones.

“Our first aim is to win enough points to stay in the division but this is not our target for the season and we we want to be competitive against every team, not just those in the middle or bottom part of the table.”

Joe Stranks continues as captain while No 8 Ryan Goodwin and prop Ryan Manuel remain key in the tight and the loose.

Young scrum-half Euan Harris has impressed in pre-season having gained senior experience last season while flying centre Harry Davies will be one to watch.

Pool began their pre-season with a 17-12 victory over Chester IIIs before going down 29-17 at home to Telford.

While the core of last season’s side remain the club has been boosted by several new faces as well as graduates from youth level.

To ensure game time the club will be running a reserve side with club secretary Barry Williams at the helm.

“My intention is to try and get a side on the field every weekend,” said Williams. “If 15 players want a game but aren’t in the senior squad, they should get one.

“We have a group of young players who are looking to push their way into the senior team who need to be playing regularly to develop their game and a large group of older players looking to play every so often, so hopefully we can blend the two groups together and play plenty of rugby.