RUGBY UNION: Promotion prompts mixed feelings

The Oxford Times: Bicester’s squad Bicester’s squad

BICESTER captain Dan Spencer admitted winning promotion had been an anticlimax, but stressed they had a lot to be proud of.

Spencer’s side secured the BB&O Premier Division’s runners-up spot and a place in Southern Counties North next season after Farnham Royal handed them a walkover.

“The guys were absolutely gutted about it, frustrated more than anything,” said Spencer.

“We wanted to win and go up with a bit of a bang, but it didn’t happen.”

Spencer paid tribute to the impact of head coach Paul Sullivan and his team of Tony Staples (forwards) and Darren Bartlett (backs).

“We won the first match away at Farnham, then the next three were losses,” said Spencer.

“After that, we sat down and talked about what we wanted to do. It picked up well from there.”

Spencer believes Bicester, who were the only team to beat champions Tadley this season, can compete at a higher level.

He said: “Last time up there, we lost every game and the guys are keen to put that right.

“We are looking to recruit more players and know it is a big step up.”

DAVE Behan scooped a double at Bicester’s end of season awards.

The prop was named first team and captain’s player of the year as Bicester celebrated winning promotion to Southern Counties North.

Ryan Gallagher won the players’ player of the year title, while fellow flanker Jamie Stevens took the coaches’ accolade.

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