Bedford Athletic have added to their squad for the club’s return to the National Three Midlands League this season.
The Putnoe Woods side are fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead of them, as three seasons ago the club experienced the pain of winning only one game in 26 attempts and despite playing an attractive brand of rugby they suffered from a lack of strength in depth in what can be an attritional and demanding league.
On their return to Level 5 rugby, the club have added several players from National One club Ampthill to their ranks.
Openside flanker Jake Foster rejoins the club having made five appearances in the 2011-12 season and he is joined by centre JJ Raven who starred for East Midlands in their County Plate triumph at Twickenham in May.
Stuart Livesey, a full back who can also play in the centre or on the wing, is the third player to join from Ampthill.
The club have added further cover at 10 and 15 with Robbie Povey joining from Luton. He played for Canada U20s in their World Cup qualifiers last season and is currently on tour with the Canada A side.
East Midlands U20 winger Sam Neilly joins the club and James Hawken rejoins from Olney to add further depth and experience in this area.
In the forwards the club will be expecting a greater role for ex-Ulster Academy prop John Clarke this year as he continues his time at Bedford University and the front row will also be bolstered by Kettering prop forward James Aldwinckle and former Bedford Academy star Ben Thompson.
With Ryan Taylor also hopeful of returning from an eye injury suffered last term and Ian Barnard looking forward to a full season with the side the club hope to have front row options.
The first XV continue to be led by Rob Watkins for what will be a challenging campaign building on the league and cup titles from last season.
The second team have also moved up a league and will be hoping to challenge in the East Midlands Merit tables.
Pre-season games get underway at Putnoe Wood on Saturday at 3pm with National Three London side Shelford the visitors at both first and second team levels.