MATT Williams has made no secret of Chinnor’s intention to win promotion, but is fully aware his side must not be distracted by the task.

The Thame-based club head into this year’s National League 2 South campaign as one of the title challengers.

Chinnor learnt a great deal in missing out on last season’s play-offs by virtue of games won.

And director of rugby Williams, whose side won all their pre-season friendlies, knows the club will be tipped by many to be challenging for top spot.

He said: “I’ve said to the boys with us finishing third, the majority of people will be expecting us to be pushing for promotion.

“We want promotion, but the most important thing for us is not next week, but the game in front of us.

“I know it’s a cliché, but we’ll be looking at each week as it comes and if we win most of our games we stand a good chance of winning the league.”

Chinnor begin their campaign with an away fixture at Clifton on Saturday.

Coincidentally their last trip to the Bristol club – a 33-17 defeat in March - was, in Williams’s eyes, one of the reasons they missed out on promotion.

He said: “It’s a perfect first game because if we evaluate what went wrong last year, it’s Clifton away.

“You can’t just look at one game, but that was definitely a week where the boys were looking over their shoulder at Bishop’s Stortford the game after.”

Chinnor have lost a number of players to higher league clubs, while Bevon Armitage and Nathan Hannay have also moved on.

But they have been busy bolstering their pack, while former Fiji under 20 centre Orisi Nawaqaliva has caught the eye.

Williams said: “He has been a revelation. He’s a player I did not have any pre-conceived ideas about upon his arrival, but he has flourished.”

Henley Hawks are hoping to build on last season’s momentum as they eye a top-six finish.

The Oxfordshire club endured a difficult 2016/17 campaign after suffering relegation from the third tier.

But Hawks won six of their last ten games to finish ninth and head coach Pete Davies is hoping they can use that form as a springboard.

Henley host Redingensians on Saturday, having put particular emphasis on their defence throughout pre-season.

But Davies is aware of his side’s limitations, with the club prioritising improvements to the facilities at Dry Leas.

He said: “We know we are in a three-year plan and this is the first year.

“Last year was a mixed bag, a tough season and very much getting back into rugby at this level.

“A top-six finish this year is definitely our target.

“We’ve no aspirations of being promoted, but we want to build on the second half of last year.

“We’ve spent an awful lot of money on infrastructure with the clubhouse, that has hit our playing budget and how we get on in the league, but we’re comfortable with that.

“We know where we’re at and we’re not thinking ‘we’re going to get promoted this season’.”

Hawks have kept the majority of last season’s squad.

But they have recruited, with Amersham & Chiltern prop Ian Stock, back-row forward Matt Tibbatts, and Oxford Harlequins winger Jack Robinson joining the club.