ROYAL Wootton Bassett began the new South West One East season in scintillating fashion with a five-try bonus-point win away at Old Centralians on Saturday.

The Ballards Ash side did the brunt of the damage in the first half as they built up a 17-5 cushion before firmly holding on in an even second period to claim a 39-24 success.

Simon Anderton, Joe Pettit, Chris Paterson, Gavin Ougan and Sean Marsden all scored tries for Bassett, with Troy Cusack adding 14 points with the boot.

Head coach Alan Low admitted there had been slight concern over Bassett’s preparations for the new campaign, so was delighted to see no ill-effects of that.

“It was a positive start,” said Low.

“We’d had a bit of a mixed pre-season in the sense that we didn’t quite get where we wanted to over our fixtures, so we thought we might be going into the first league game potentially a little bit under-cooked.

“To come out with the result and the performance we got was fantastic.

“Attacking-wise, the boys’ patterns were absolutely superb. There is a little bit to work on defensively but that will come over the next few weeks as everyone gets back into the swing of things.

“There was a first-team debut for Ethan Stock too at the weekend. He has come out of our junior and minis system and he will be another good player for us.”

The match was remarkably similar to Bassett’s first away game two seasons ago, which was also against Old Centralians.

Low’s troops built up a 17-3 half-time cushion that day before falling to a 36-17 defeat.

With the loss still rankling in his memory, Low was pleased history did not repeat itself.

“We spoke at half-time and made a comparison to going to Old Cents away in the second game of the season a few years ago,” said Low.

“We 17-5 up at half-time on Saturday and it had been something similar that year but we ended up losing the game.

“We spoke about the development we have seen in the squad and how we are a much better side character-wise than we were then, so we told the players they needed to go on and close the game out.

“Old Cents came back really hard at us, which we were expecting, but we managed to weather the storm and come out on top, which was great.”

Elsewhere in South West One East, fellow Wiltshire side Marlborough are the early leaders after they thrashed Salisbury 66-13 at home.

There was also home success for Chippenham as they beat Sherborne 41-33, while Trowbridge picked up two bonus points amid a 34-38 loss at Beaconsfield.

Swindon and Swindon College Old Boys start their season this weekend in the opening round of fixtures in Southern Counties South.