SO, after 11 months of rugby, the season finally came to an end with our trip to Westcombe Park on Saturday.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be the ending we had hoped for.
The side this week was slightly changed with Mike Marsh starting at scrum half and, with Greg Sullivan and Paul Dunkley unavailable, we had a new centre partnership of Matt McLean and Alex Nielsen.
This also allowed Ian Greenwood to start on the wing and Matt Redmayne came onto the bench.
The game itself was a disappointment. On a rock-hard pitch, the Westcombe Park boys, who were and still are, fighting for their survival in National Two, “wanted it more”.
In a game that meant far more to them then to us, they showed more desire to fall on the loose ball or to throw their bodies into the breakdown. Although we started well, we made too many mistakes and just weren’t clinical enough with the possession we had.
As a result, WP were the deserving winners on the day and have given themselves a lifeline to stay in this league.
Ealing have been crowned worthy champions and Jersey are in the play-off place.
The battle now is to see who joins Newbury and Hinckley in the third relegation place, Westcombe Park and Canterbury play this weekend with the loser leaving the league.
This was not the way we wanted to end another season in the national leagues.
We have finished a credible eighth place in what is an extremely competitive league, picking up some good victories along the way. Ones that stand out for me are OAs at home and Taunton away, where I think we played some of our best rugby.
There was, of course, the home victory over Henley on “Ladies’ Day” and gaining some revenge over Clifton, a side we had never beaten, but who we also had one of our poorest games against.
On that thread, the results that have disappointed us would be the home and away defeats to Richmond and Southend, the latter being one of the three games we lost by three points or less.
On a final note, I know that I and the whole squad would like to thank Will Green for all the work he has done for us over the past two years, turning us into a highly competitive team in this league.
I’m sure we will all miss the “keeno” beating us up the Madehurst hills during pre-season. We wish him and his whole family all the best with their new lives in Somerset.
Finally, a big thank-you to all supporters who follow us, week in, week out and, after a well-earned rest, we will see you all in August when the 2011/12 season kicks-off and we plan to build on the success we have worked so hard to achieve.