WESSEX are hoping that things can only get better when the new season starts in two weeks' time.
The Flowerpot Field outfit arrived in the Cornwall & Devon League this time last year as Devon One champions, but had lost 12 members of their double-winning squad and did not have enough players to put out a second XV.
Just how tough it was going to be soon became apparent as Wessex were rooted to the foot of the table all season, and ended up going straight back down.
A new season brings new challenges and coach Dean Jeffery prefers to look forward instead of back.
"Now we are in Devon One, our aim is to rebuild and establish ourselves and, above all, start enjoying the game again," said Jeffery.
"Last season was either going to break or make the club, and to be honest, I believe it has made the club.
"Many would have walked away when the going was tough, but our lads stayed to the end and are back again this season.
"There is a great atmosphere and feeling amongst the old and new players at pre-season, and the lads are enjoying it and working hard, which is what it is all about."
Wessex lacked depth last season and the flock of new signings this term is more than welcome.
"We have signed 15 players so far and are looking at signing more who have shown an interest in joining the club," said Jeffery.
"We have had some young lads join and others who have rejoined having had a few seasons away."
Lee Davis is back having spent three seasons at Exeter Saracens. Kyle Bonsor, a qualified strength and conditioning coach, has also signed as a player.
Props Callum Pillinger-Brown and Aaron James have come from the youth section at the Chiefs. Jed Rigler, who can play at either centre or wing, has joined from the youth section at Exeter Saracens.
Flanker Dan Mather has also arrived from Withycombe, and Jeffery has first-hand experience of his ability.
"Having been very impressed with his performances against us over the years, I know he'll be bring a great deal to our back row," he said.
Other new faces are centre Josh Lister, hooker Ben Guinchards, lock Luke Meldon, prop Mathew Burden, scrum-half Dave Weaver, centres Josh Pidwell and Steve Lane as well as Andrew Saunders and James Daniel.
Veteran flanker Phil Bye is also back at Flowerpot after time away coaching at Paignton and Crediton.
Wessex face Buckfastleigh in a friendly on Friday, August 30, with the serious stuff starting with a Devon Junior Cup trip to Plymstock on September 7.
Tiverton start their pre-season campaign with a trip to South Molton on Saturday.
The Coronation Field outfit boasts a new-look coaching outfit, which has seen Dave Maddick move from first team coach to coaching co-ordinator. Former player Martin Oxland is now first team coach, with Glenn Crocker as forwards coach and former Plymouth Albion man Wayne Sprangle as player-coach.
Withycombe host Exmouth seconds on Tuesday.