DEVIZES started the new Southern Counties South season in scintillating fashion with a dominant 11-try romp in a 62-5 victory at home to Thatcham.

The Saddlebacks kicked off going up the slight incline looking to get an early score but Thatcham were able to frustrate them for the first 15 minutes or so.

Devizes were cutting open the Thatcham defence at will and should have had two scores in this period but the final pass was forced and knocked on with the tryline begging.

Despite this, the hosts opened the scoring just before the first quarter was up as line break from Lewis Paget, Rhys Harries and Kieran Hiscock saw the ball whipped to Oli Bird, who used his footwork to go over in the corner. Fergus O’Connor was unable to add the conversion.

The lead was extended shortly afterwards as Hiscock played a neat pass to the Lewis Dodds, who powered over from 40m, with O’Connor adding the extras this time.

Thatcham responded, largely due to Devizes’ indiscipline, and kicked for the corner where a well-engineered pack rumbled over for an unconverted try.

Devizes responded just before the break as a burst in midfield by Alex Pattle set them on the front foot before the ball was shipped to Dodds, who offloaded to O’Connor to score and push the lead to 17-5 at half-time.

Playing down the slight slope after the break, Devizes had plenty of opportunities to put phases together and ran Thatcham ragged with a further seven scores.

Bird got his second of the day after some good play in the centres, Conor Scott touched down after excellent work in the forwards, Josh Gould scored off the back of a 5m scrum, Scott Martin ran in a superb try, Sam Holloway got the a touchdown his play richly deserved off the back of a rolling maul, and a rampaging run from Gould was finished off by skipper Paget.

The Saddlebacks’ final two tries came in the concluding 10 minutes as first Daniel Sainsbury and then Thomas Hamill got over the whitewash to push the score beyond the 60-point barrier.

Elsewhere, Corsham suffered a tough start to the season as they were well beaten at home by Grove, going down 46-8.