Wed, 22 Apr 2020
NEWBURY Blues captain Dan Thorne believes the relegation fight would have gone down to the wire, had they been able to complete their South West Premier campaign.
Blues’ season was ended with four games to go due to the coronavirus outbreak and the RFU announced earlier this month that leagues around the country would be calculated on a best playing record formula.
As a result of this, Newbury were relegated to Division South West 1 East.
“The most frustrating thing is not being able to control the outcome ourselves, especially with the momentum we had gained in the second half of the season,” said Thorne.
Blues struggled during the early stages of the campaign and Thorne believes that proved decisive.
He said: “We were backing ourselves to get a fair few points from our last four games, but as we know from previous experiences, when other teams are fighting for their lives they tend to pull out some big results too.
“We didn’t get enough results in the first half of the season, and that made it a difficult job.
“My heart says we would have done enough, but it would have gone right down to that last game again.”
Throughout the campaign, though, Blues produced some strong performances and Thorne wants to take this and use it when they return to action next season.
He said: “We have got some brilliant young players around the squad, like Toby Holland, who have come on leaps and bounds playing week in, week out at South West Premier this year.
“I am very excited to see what he, and the rest of the squad, can produce in SW1 next year.
“Our main objective will to be keep improving so that we are competitive at the top end of the table at Level 5.
“We will definitely have some tough battles next season though to get back there and I’m already looking forward to the clashes with Bracknell and Banbury especially.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, a number of campaigns have been completed to raise money for the NHS.
Thorne and his teammates decided to shave their heads with all proceeds being donated.
He said: “We decided to get right behind the ‘Shave Donate Nominate’ campaign, which is helping raise funds for the NHS.
“A few of the boys were definitely apprehensive, myself included, but it’s for such a great cause we had to do our bit to help.”