TAUNTON find themselves in a positive, optimistic frame of mind as the new season approaches.

The AGM in July revealed the finances to be in good shape with all activities at the club yielding a surplus of just under £11,000 – a heartening improvement.

Stalwart Jack Matthews (president), chairman John Wrelton, secretary Ben Goddard and treasurer Kevin McCarthy were all re-elected with much praise being given to what is proving to be a solid administration team.

On the playing front the coaching team of Tony Yapp, Chris Brown and Keith Brooking have all signed contracts committing them to the club for the next three seasons.

And given their success last season when the Taunton Titans finished sixth in National League 2 (South) – their highest position in the club’s 139-year history – there is a buzz of excitement and anticipation around the dressing room.

Such is the team spirit that a large majority of last season’s young, emerging squad have signed on for this coming campaign and their ranks have been augmented by the return from long-term injuries of Joe Bartlett (scrum half) and Alex Wilcockson (full back and utility back).

In addition there are new faces in centre Matthew Tachias (Royal Navy and Brixham), half back Ollie Massey-Birch (Cardiff Met), utility half-back Lewis Webb and half-back James Bath (Exeter University).

Yapp said: “I’m really pleased with the way the guys are progressing through pre-season and provided we can get a few more results away from home we might well be a force to be reckoned with.

“We have a difficult first third of the season but these lads now know their way around the park and can grind it out with the best in the league.

“Training has been ongoing since the end of June and has been consistently attended by 35-40 players and there is no doubt the 2nd and 3rd XVs will be strengthened by this influx of new talent and the enthusiasm they bring with them.”

Friendly pre-season games for the Titans have been arranged against Exeter University next Tuesday, Newton Abbott (Thursday) and University of Wales 2nd and 1st XVs on August 30. The league season begins on September 6 with The Titans at Cambridge while seven days later they entertain Clifton.