BROMSGROVE RFC head coach Ross Baxter is already looking forward to next season after what he sees as a generally successful first term in National Two North.

The Boars finished seventh after being promoted from National Three Midlands last season and Baxter believes they achieved his targets while surprising a few onlookers.

The campaign ended with a 16-8 defeat at Sheffield Tigers, but Baxter did not let that put a damper on his enthusiasm for the way the club has progressed and the players have performed.

He said: “I tend to look at performance indicators at the end of the season and these are good with the fact that we are the second highest bonus points scorers in the league and fourth in terms of points difference “This tells me that although we might not have won as many away games as we would have liked, we have been quite free scoring and if we had gone on to win those matches we would probably have finished second in the league.

“Having said that, we have exceeded expectations which was a top-half finish and I am really pleased with the way the players have improved and coped with the step up to a higher level.

“We have been playing bigger clubs, with more money and support and more experienced players but we have never looked out of our depth, quite the opposite and I can only praise everyone at the club for making the step up.”

Baxter said he was pleased with the way the new players such as James Curvengen had fitted in and said the aim must be to retain the squad for the next campaign and aim to finish even higher in the league.

Next season will see Bromsgrove play the likes of Rugby Lions, Birmingham Solihull, Dudley Kingswinford and Stourbridge and Baxter said the income generated and the saving on travelling costs would be extremely welcome.

He said: “There will be some good local derbies next season which will mean increased gates and revenue from the bar, that sort of thing, and a lot of interest in the games on the pitch as well because of the geographical proximity.

“Our local derby this season was Luctonians so it will be different and a new challenge for us but we already have experience of this level now which will stand us in good stead to try and push on next season.”