Bedford Blues and Ampthill both prepare to get RFU Championship season under way.

Bedford Blues and Ampthill will get their RFU Championship campaigns up and running this weekend.

Blues will be looking for a first victory in Coventry for over a decade when they make the relatively short trip to the West Midlands on Friday night for a 7.45pm start.

Ampthill, meanwhile, welcome old friends Jersey Reds to Dillingham Park on Saturday at 3pm, with last season’s results suggesting this will be another keenly-contested game.

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Mike Rayer’s Bedford charges will be looking for a perfect start to the campaign when going in search of an opening day victory for the first time since 2019, while also trying to achieve a first success at Butts Park Arena since October 2008.

With so much continuity remaining from last season, the squad impressed in pre-season performances against Rotherham and Northampton and will be looking to replicate that form into competitive action.

And for lock Alex Woolford, it will mean a return to one of his former clubs, something he is relishing.

He said: “There’s excitement in the camp. We had two really close games with Coventry last year, losing by three points over both games, but we’re keen to rip into it as pre-season training has gone on a long time so we’re looking forward to it.

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"League games are so different to pre-season given there’s something to play for in every game and the fine margins and little wins all add up – I think when you look at some of the games we narrowly lost last year, had we won them we’d have had a much better finishing position.

"We want to start the league well. We’re a good team, have trained well and I’m excited to see what we can do as a team and as a squad.”

Ampthill recorded two good wins against Welsh sides in the pre-season but were undone by the strength of former multiple Premiership and European Cup Champions Saracens last Friday night – a game that for long periods was a lot closer than the final score of 59-14 suggested.

A successful summer of recruitment for the Mob saw 15 new players arrive at Dillingham Park including ‘old boys’ Joe Sproston, Sam Hanks and Syd Blackmore who will all be looking to be among the 23-man squad.