TOTNES have suffered a blow before the season starts as new skipper Tom Edmonds is going to miss the first half of it due to injury.
Prop forward Edmonds – son of Totnes chairman and Mike Edmonds – was only appointed during the summer.
Edmonds suffered a foot injury during a trainings session – ligament damage has been diagnosed – and he is out until Christmas.
Veteran centre Andy Rive will be in charge until Edmonds is fit to return.
Totnes had a torrid time last year with weather problems playing havoc with their fixtures. A final placing of fourth in the Devon One table – four points away from the play-offs – was more than respectable.
Having been hammered week in and week out the year before on the way to relegation from the Cornwall & Devon Division, Totnes were an improved side in 2012-13.
Coach Richard Burden wasn't sure his side were ready for promotion last season – and nothing has changed a year on.
"We improved last season and with a bit more continuity of selection might have done a bit better," said Burden.
"One of the frustrating things about being Totnes coach is not being able to rely on the same players being available every week.
"The nucleus of the squad is still here and there are some new faces, such as Chris Beardsmore from Paignton and Jonny Gledhill, who will be available a lot more this season.
"I will be very disappointed with anything below halfway as we are capable of better than that."
Totnes open their season with a cup game against Torrington.
NEW Cross go into the new campaign brimming with confidence after an encouraging pre-season.
Highlight of the warm-up programme was a 12-5 win over Paignton who, even after relegation last term, remain two divisions above the Kingsteignton side.
Prop Aaron Taylor is the new captain at Five Lanes, replacing Nick Halse who has joined National Two side Exmouth.
Halse was always going to move on sooner or later to a bigger club and goes with the best wishes of all at New Cross.
Otherwise there has been little movement in or out – and even the retired players haven't packed up completely.
Veteran Stuart Donnelly has told Taylor if he is short on a Friday night to give him a call.
New Cross missed out on the promotion play-offs last season on an inferior points difference to Plymstock Albion Oaks.
Oaks faltered in the play-offs and along with much- strengthened Wessex, South Molton and ambitions Topsham will be the teams New Cross can expect to challenge this term.