GOSPORT & FAREHAM kick off their London two south west campaign against Winchester at Gosport Park on Saturday (3pm).
After last season’s relegation the Blue & Golds are looking to make an impact at the lower level.
During the summer senior coach Barry Bridgman stepped down temporarily due to family reasons leaving Simon Pickett to take over on an interim basis.
Pickett shares Bridgman’s ambitions for a successful season.
‘Barry’s target is top four and collectively as a group that is what we are aiming for,’ said Pickett.
‘We are looking top four and possibly promotion because the guys are strong and want to test themselves at the higher level again.
‘They want to show that last season was a learning curve and that they can develop and give it a real go.
‘But it is not an easy start to the season playing Winchester and Eastleigh even if both games are at home.
‘We want to start with a win because rugby is very much a game of momentum.
‘Rugby, like any sport, tends to be results driven and with all the defeats of the last couple of seasons its easy for heads to drop.
‘The players have worked hard over the summer and are much fitter as a result.
‘Though we have come down a level it’s still going to be difficult.’
Fareham Heathens find themselves badly depleted for their opening Hampshire one game against Sandown & Shanklin at Cams Alders (3pm).
Director of rugby Bernie Rhodes admitted the club did consider asking to have it rearranged.
‘In the end we felt the honourable thing to do was to honour the fixture,’ said Rhodes.
‘One of our players is away on his stag do and that rules out a number of our regular players who are joining him.
‘During the summer though we had a good influx of new players and we have been encouraged by our pre-season.’
United Services start with a visit to Ellingham & Ringwood.