The newcomers found it tough to secure a Division 3 top-five place in the first half of the season, only qualifying on the final afternoon of competition. But they made a confident start to the Championship 2 campaign, beating Welsh Wanderers 7-5 at Newport.
Welsh goalkeeper Anna Jenkins-Delf (Photo: Carl Downing) defied Cheltenham with several fine saves in the early stages. But eventually Cheltenham broke clear in the final period, when goals were scored by Amy Berry (2), Rebecca Thomas and Abigail Jeffery.
The other new team, City of Bristol, also made a positive start, defeating Southampton 8-5.
At Grantham, Jessica Arthur and Emma Marshall both scored four in Birmingham's 17-4 demolition of Manchester Comets while there was no doubting the star of Mid Sussex Marlins' 14-10 victory over Sheffield Stringrays - experienced Isobel Bates scored nine!
Back at Newport, a goal six seconds from the end by Nia Sanders gave Welsh Wanderers a point against Southampton. The sides drew 6-6 after Southampton began the final quarter with a 6-4 lead. Later, Cheltenham's luck ran out - well beaten 9-2 by derby rivals Bristol.