Doncaster Knights: There’s plenty of room for improvement, says Clive Griffiths
Last weekend's win at Plymouth Albion brought down the curtain on Doncaster Knights' 2014-15 Championship campaign.
“If I were writing an end-of-season report it would probably be along the lines of 'satisfactory but could do better’,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths this week.
Whereas the target in the last couple of weeks of the season was a top-eight spot, the Welshman claimed Knights could just as easily have been challenging for a top-four berth.
“We messed up on at least four games this season and could quite easily have done the double over Rotherham,” he argued.
“We should also have beaten Nottingham at home after scoring four tries against two.
“The home game against (Cornish ) Pirates was terrible.
“We shouldn’t be losing home games when we are something like 17 points up.
“You have to credit your opponents but we know that it was the wrong decisions we made in those games which cost us victory.
“Going nine Championsip games without a win obviously didn't help the cause.
“But our fantastic run to the final of the B&I Cup helped keep spirits bubbling because we'd lose three league games and then we'd win three B&I Cup games.
“That meant that we remained competitive during that long run of league defeats and, as I say, we just came up short in quite a few of them.
“We made club history by reaching the B&I final and our semi-final win over Bristol was probably our best result of the season, especially in view of what they did to Worcester at the weekend.
“Unfortunately, we didn't do ourselves justice in the first half of the final against Worcester here at Castle Park and that was disappointing.”
He added: “As I say, everyone knows it could have been much better but at the same time we achieved our main objective of staying in the Championship after being promoted and to do it by more than 20 points was most pleasing.
“It was also pleasing to end the season with a good run of results and everyone should feel proud of their efforts and the players are now enjoying a bit of 'chill out' time which they have deserved.
“As always at this time of the year you say 'goodbye' to players who have helped the club achieve what we have and that is always tinged with sadness.
"But, as a director of rugby, you have to make decisions on players - though some have decided to move elsewhere or retire as is the case with Tom Davies - and you stand and fall by your decisions.
“Next season we'll be aiming higher in what is likely to be an even stronger league so our recruitment has to reflect that.
“Next season is the last of my current contract and if the club don't decide to renew it then at least I want to make it a good one.
“But for that to happen, and for us to do better than ninth position, we need to win the games we have won this season and also some of the ones we should have done but didn't.
“That's the challenge facing both coaching staff and players next season.”