Scarborough RUFC may have missed out on the Yorkshire Shield silverware at the weekend, but it certainly wasn’t all bad news.
Their progression through to a 38-10 defeat against Ilkley in the Shield final has handed the Silver Royd club a path into the National Cup, heralding a chance to play at Twickenham.
This is high on the priority list of Phil Watson, who signed off as club skipper after the weekend’s game at York’s Clifton Park.
“To get to the final was a massive achievement in itself and we held our own against a good Ilkely side for 60 minutes of the game,” he said.
“Anybody who was at the game will know that the scoreline was harsh on us, but unfortunately we just stepped off the gas in the final minutes of the game.
“It was a great day for everyone at the club and it wasn’t all bad news because it allows us to qualify for the National Cup next season.
“Usually the winners of the Yorkshire Shield qualify, but with Ilkley gaining promotion they are no longer eligible to play in the National Cup.
“As well as giving us the chance to compete at a national level, it could also give us the opportunity to play in a final at Twickenham - which is a once in a lifetime situation.”
Coach Lee Douglas’ Scarborough won’t be putting all their eggs in one basket though, as success in Yorkshire One is also key to the club.
Watson added: “Our league form has been disappointing this season.
“We wanted to get away from the typical Scarborough performance of finishing mid-table, but unfortunately we haven’t.
“It is about building for next year now, which is something that started a few months ago now.
“We are back in training in the first week of July, by which point we will have a lot of things in place.
“Our coach Lee has brought a different structure to the club, one we are all confident will bear fruit next season.
“Ideally we will be looking at third or fourth next season, but you can’t go setting targets at this stage.
“We just want to go out there and win any game in front of us and take it from there.”
After missing the final with a knee cartilage injury, Watson is now planning a few weeks of recovery before getting down to the nitty gritty of pre-season training.
He is also looking forward to concentrating on his own game after an enjoyable two seasons as skipper.
“I was devastated to miss the Shield final through injury, but it was still nice to be involved on the day,” he said.
“I have had two good and enjoyable seasons as captain, but it is a lot of commitment, I’ll be able to concentrate on playing now.
“Fingers crossed I’ll get the all-clear in a couple of weeks and after that I’ll be able to settle into getting ready for the new season.”