BIRMINGHAM and Solihull Bees kick off their National Two campaign tomorrow with a long-distance trip to Redruth, and Russell Earnshaw is full of hope ahead of the new season.
The powerhouse player-coach admits he cannot wait to get started and says that, physically, his team is looking in great shape after a summer of full-time training.
"We want to play some games like this because there are points to play for which we feel we can win," Earnshaw explained.
"I know it's a cliché but we just need to take it a step at a time.
"Our focus is on the [Redruth] game Saturday and then we'll start looking towards the battle with Stourbridge."
It's going to be a new adventure for the Bees as they travel to new grounds up and down the country and Earnshaw is hoping that everything falls into place.
"We must be prepared mentally and physically and take small steps throughout the season.
"If we can manage all the variables like the travelling and keeping our players injury-free then we stand a good chance."
Last weekend Bees' 100 percent pre-season record was ended as Welsh Principality Premiership side Bedwas beat them 16-7.
The trip to South Wales should have been wrapped up early on but Cameron Mitchell missed two glorious opportunities.
The inside-centre did make amends just minutes later with a remarkable interception and 40-metre dash before crashing over the line to open the scores. Reliable kicker Mark Woodrow added the extras.
However, as the half went on Bedwas came more into the game, and No. 8 Brendon Lampitt reduced the deficit before wing Rob Suffield further improved the scoreline with a smartly taken tap penalty.
In the second half the Bees struggled to add to the scoresheet and it was Bedwas who improved their faultless pre-season record of five successive wins with two successful penalties from Chris Anderson to seal the game.
* The Bees are also gearing up for their first home National Two game of the season - against Stourbridge on September 13.