Mon, 20 Apr 2020
NEWBURY Blues head coach Paul Archer was disappointed his side were unable to potentially complete a great escape in South West Premier.
The RFU announced that all rugby in England would be concluded and that the playing record would determine promotion and relegation.
Unfortunately for Blues, they were one of two teams in the relegation zone and as a result they’ve dropped down to level 6.
“It was the right decision to end the league, but we’re disappointed for a few reasons,” said Archer. “We’re disappointed we can’t play rugby at the moment because nobody was expecting the season to come to an abrupt end.
“We absolutely understand and support the decision that the rest of the season doesn’t go ahead because there is a much wider picture.”
Newbury had four games remaining in the division and were starting to pick up results.
Archer said: “We didn’t get a chance to pull off our big escape, but we left ourselves with too much to do and that’s a big learning curve for us for next season and beyond.
“You don’t want to leave yourself in a position where you’re trying to make up shortfall at the end of the season because it’s a difficult place to be in.”
Despite the disappointment, Archer was pleased with his squad’s effort over the season and he hopes they can stick together and come straight back up.
He said: “I am really proud of the boys with the effort they put in over the season because it’s been phenomenal, although we didn’t always get it tactically right.
“It’s important we set some expectations for the boys, but we need to allow the emotion and the disappointment to settle in first.
“I am hopeful we can keep a lot of the players around next season so we need to use this opportunity to learn and go again.
“Hopefully that can give us the results and give us a good opportunity to get back up to level 5 in a year’s time.”
Blues will be playing in South West 1 East next season and they’ll take confidence when playing as they comfortably won the league last year to be promoted to level 5.
Archer said: “Once you have done something once, you have the confidence that you can do it again because last time we were at this level, we put together a fantastic run.
“In some respect, we had success too easily and we weren’t tested in the way we needed to be.
“When I first took the job, I thought getting to level 5 would be a two-season project, so maybe that jump happened too soon for us.”
Archer has set himself goals for the next campaign as he has the confidence in his players that they can get back to league winning form.
“We are still ambitious as a club, we’re not happy to rest on our laurels at level 6 because we have seen where we can go and what results we can get.
“My focus next year is development of more players because I want to get a wider and deeper playing squad which enables us to be better prepared for level 5.”