ROYAL Wootton Bassett’s South West One (East) promotion charge will rekindle after the festive break this afternoon when improving Oxford Harlequins visit Ballards Ash.

Alan Low’s side start 2019 two points short of table topping Old Centralians in third place, level on points with Banbury, despite suffering only one defeat from their opening 14 fixtures.

Harlequins’ form isn’t quite so spectacular, they lost five fixtures to sit fourth – 11 points short of the division’s play-off frame.

Despite this, Low has cautioned his players to not bank on Bassett’s earlier 5-32 success against Oxford and pointed to visiting skipper Martin Nutt as a potential new year party pooper given his previous National League experience.

Low said: “Oxford (Harlequins) played quite an open game when we played them earlier this season, but we performed well and it was disappointing to concede the score that we did.

“I’m sure they will be looking to make amends for that result, and they have recently picked up some good results in the league.

“It will be a tough battle this afternoon. We went through the videos on Thursday ahead of training.

“They’re strong up front and had a couple of injuries in that department when we last played them.

“We managed to run them ragged, our fitness told that day and we pushed them around the park which is what I want us to do this weekend also.”

Reflecting on 2019 as a calendar year, the Bassett coach revealed his pride with regards to the club’s progression across all areas.

Fielding four senior teams, two colts sides and a host of youth squads is the club’s biggest achievement in the eyes of Low – and that’s without mentioning the new and improved gym facilities the club can now offer to its players.

He added: “Last year was a huge year of progression, we’re in a really positive place right now.

“Numbers across all teams are high, we’re on the cusp of running four senior sides and have two colts sides.

“A number of colts are coming through into senior rugby too. With the gym and the arriving equipment too, we are in a really strong place.

“This is the highest position the club has ever been, but there is still more to follow. Our job is to keep the positive energy going so the committee backs its players and the rugby to boost facilities.

“Players understand that, and they’re putting the hard graft in. They’ve had a great 2019, though we recognised we went a bit flat in January and February.

“We want to rectify that and continue where we left 2019.”