BRIDPORT chairman Julian Hussey believes the Blues are “alive and kicking” ahead of their opening Wadworth 6X Dorset & Wilts Two South clash with North Dorset Seconds at the Brewery Ground on Saturday (3pm).

In a lengthy statement, Hussey addressed the club’s relegation from One South last season and spoke highly of the new relationship established with French side Lege-Cap Ferret.

He said: “Our 50th anniversary season did not live up to expectations as it was soon apparent that there was a large gap in strength of depth and ability between the top six or seven teams and the rest of the league.

“After suffering a long list of injuries in the second half of the season the team were not able to avoid relegation.

“Over the summer the committee and players had an extensive review of how they wanted to take the club forward and look to the rebuilding of the side so that we can regain our position in (One South).

“Under the leadership of Ayo Fraser we have established a sound coaching team from our existing experienced players – Tom Gamwell, Mitch Waters, Daragh McLoughlin and Rich Layzell, encouraging the return of former players, attracting new ones and more importantly bringing forward an excellent group of colts to the senior side.

“Pre-season training has gone very well with good attendances and we have had two training sessions with Exeter Chiefs Community coaches which have been very well received by all the players and more are planned for later in the season.”

Hussey continued: “Off the pitch the club is investing in a refurbished kitchen.

“This, the committee feel, is required to support the large number of juniors who attend every Sunday and to enable us to have the ability to run more functions at the club for our sponsors and vice presidents, without whose support such an investment would not be possible.

“We have plans to increase our advertising revenue by offering a pitch side facility for local businesses to promote their products, all of which is part of the goal to have a greater interaction with the local community and to attract more people to come and support the club.

“Following a successful junior tour in May we hosted Lege-Cap Ferret near Bordeaux.

“The whole weekend was an unqualified success with the French club describing it as “fantastic and the start of a long and great adventure”.

“The key success factor was the hospitality supplied by Bridport and all the local businesses and organisations that supported the occasion showcasing Bridport at its finest.

“So, my message to all of you in Bridport who enjoy rugby is that your local team is alive and kicking and welcomes your support at the Brewery Ground in the forthcoming season.”