WOOTTON Bassett captain Tim Gallimore has sung the praises of his club’s new Ballards Ash facility, saying this weekend’s game against Wallingford would have stood no chance of going ahead at their old Stoneover Lane ground.

Bassett, who moved to their new home in the summer, have not played a competitive match since December 14, when they beat Swindon College Old Boys 20-13, due to a combination of poor weather and the Christmas break.

However, the men in black returning to Southern Counties North action on Saturday thanks to the excellent drainage at Ballard’s Ash – a quality the club’s former home could not offer, as Gallimore explained.

“If we’d been at Stoneover Lane we’d probably have been under six inches of water, I’d have thought,” he said.

“We didn’t train on Tuesday because of the rain but it normally drains pretty well so I’m expecting to play.

“I’m expecting it to be a reasonable surface.

“We trained last Thursday in preparation and the surface was pretty good but we got a barrel-load more on the Friday and Saturday. I think the forecast is okay for the next couple of days so I’m pretty confident we’ll play.”

Bassett edged out Wallingford 33-31 earlier in the season, as their three-quarter line ripped their opposite numbers to shreds. But Gallimore & Co are well aware of the threat their opponents pose up front.

“It was a real contrasting game. We opened them up quite regularly out wide but they really got stuck into our scrum. I think they scored a pushover try and got a penalty try from their scrum,” said the Bassett skipper.

“We know what’s coming, it’s just a case of dealing with it.

“They’re in a similar sort of position to us, they’re just below us in the table and they’ve lost a couple of games.

“The last thing we want to do is start getting dragged back into it and end up playing with nerves. Once you break that gap people tend to relax more and you play better rugby.

“I think we’re all just looking forward to playing some rugby again. It feels like an eternity.

“It feels almost like we’ve done another pre-season and we’re ready to go.”

Bassett have been buoyed by the return to fitness of Adam Rumble and Jon Clarke, both of whom will be substitutes on Saturday.

Rumble has been on the long-term casualty list due to a hamstring injury while Clarke has been out with a broken arm.

“We’re pretty much at full strength.

“Adam Rumble and Jon Clarke will both be on the bench for us so we’re in a pretty good state of health at the minute,” said Gallimore.

“They’re back in the squad and I’m sure they’ll both be looking to make an impact off the bench.”

In South West 1 East, Swindon visit Newbury Blues looking for victory in their first game of 2014.

The Greenbridge Road outfit have not won a game since early December, when they beat Cheltenham 35-31.