Established London SW2 outfit Winchester RFC finished in seventh place last term.

But the players have set the bar higher this time around under the guidance of new coach Gareth Martin, who has a vast amount of experience in both rugby union and league home and abroad.

And pre-season results justify the aim of a top three place for Winch after wins over Tottonians, Reading and West Sussex side Pulborough.

Martin, who may also turn out for Winch at Number 8 at times, said: “I’m pleased with what we’ve done in pre-season and I’m glad I accepted Winchester’s invitation to join them.

“I don’t like looking too far ahead, because in sport so much can change so quickly and so easily, but the players have set themselves the goal of a top-three finish.”

Gosport coach Barry Bridgman, who once held the same position at Winchester, is tasked with steadying the ship after relegation last term.

Gos have retained all of their players from the London 1 season, several others have returned for selection, and one or two new faces have joined.

Gosport will be guided by assistant coach Simon Pickett for the first match, but Bridgman said: “The aim is for a top four finish. We will be letting ourselves down if we do not achieve that.

“I’m not sure it would be good for us to win the league and bounce straight back up.”

Andover, who spectacularly saved their SW2 skins on the final day of last season, make up Hampshire’s fourth side in the division and have a tough opener at Farnham.