05:00PM, Thursday 03 May 2018
Russell Bolton says a third-place finish in the South West Premier is not a false position for Maidenhead following promotion last season.
Defeats for rivals Newton Abbot in their final two matches ensured Maids ended the campaign in third bolstered by an impressive 22 bonus points amassed from their 26 league matches.
However, their overall record of played 13, lost 13 was similar or worse than many teams below them.
They also had the second worst defensive record, conceding 825 points while scoring 780.
The head coach says in a such a tight division, finishing third was a real achievement regard- less of the sometimes contradictory statistics.
“It’s not a false position as we have been in the upper echelons all season,” said Bolton.
“Look it’s a league where anyone could beat anyone and whether it was third or fourth, I’m pleased.
“It’s a reward for playing our rugby with real intent.
“However, I could have done without us finishing with a points deficit.
“Ten points covered 10 teams, it’s was a crazy league.”
Bolton said player recruitment for next season was well advanced although nothing had been finalised.
However, he was aware of one current player who is leaving.
“The only player I know isn't returning is Will Cadden who, at 26, is leaving the club to try his hand at a club at a higher level, and I don't mean just one step above.
“He’s been great for us and we all wish him well as he tries to make a go of it. It’s great that players can progress from us, and if it doesn't work out or he achieves what he wants, we would welcome him back with open arms.”
He added: “I have given the players plenty of opportunities to tell me if they are not returning and I've not heard from anyone else yet, but we’ll see.
“It could be that some players on the fringe, who haven't been able to secure a permanent 1st team place, will want to find it at another club.
“I don't know, but I’m confident the vast majority of the team will return.”
Bolton also has his eyes on a few players to boost Maids' squad.
“Recruitment is quite a long way down the line, but quality players always have choices so we will have to wait and see if we can get those players we want across the line,” he said.
“Either way we are not talking about many players as we have already been contacted by some players, who have moved to the area and want to join us, plus we have some great Colts coming through and returning players from university.
“So I see no reason why our squad shouldn't be stronger next season.”
Maids, who won just twice away from home, know they will be doing extra miles next season with the addition of Barnstaple, Drybrook, Exeter University and Old Patesians to the division.
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