GENERAL manager Geoff Roberts says the aim for Sedgley Tigers is to be top of the pile in next season’s National Two North.

After a hugely consistent season saw them finish just behind champions Sale FC, it was down to a play-off against National Two South runners-up Chinnor to decide who would be promoted.

But despite a heroic effort in Oxfordshire, it was a triumph for the south as Chinnor won 40-31 on Saturday to consign Sedgley to another season at the same level.

But rather than dwell on the defeat, Roberts says there were positive noises in the dressing room from his players post-match, vowing to go one better next season and win the division outright.

He told the Bury Times: “The pleasing thing was the reaction of the lads after the match.

“Naturally, there was disappointment but the first thing they said was ‘let’s come back next season and win promotion outright’.

“Overall, we have had a tremendous season and been so consistent to finish just behind the champions.

“The players have put everything in, as they did again on Saturday but it just wasn’t meant to be.

“The younger players will learn from the experience and hopefully it will stand us in good stead next season.

“There are plenty of things to be positive about.”

A try, conversion and penalty from Steve Collins in the first half had the Tigers in the game before a home try from Luke Hibberd extended the hosts’ lead to 22-10 at the break.

Second-half tries from Matt Riley, Hallam Chapman and Max Skofic took it to 35-31 but a late score for Chinnor’s George Oliver sealed their win.

Nevertheless, Roberts was proud of the team’s efforts on the day, despite missing out on promotion.

He added: “In the end I think home advantage told for Chinnor.

“There was a crowd of around 1,400 behind them but they were all biting their nails right to the end.

“It is usually said that the standard in the south is far better but I think we proved that to be wrong on Saturday as we matched them.

“In the end a few small errors from us proved costly.

"We were just behind before half time when their winger intercepted from a ruck and ran half the length of the pitch to score.

“We came back after half time with all guns blazing and there was only three points in it with 15 minutes to go.

“But from our 22, one of their players found a superb line though a gap to seal victory for Chinnor.

“They were full of praise for us afterwards and we gave it a good go on what was a fantastic day out.

“It is just a shame we couldn’t win it on the day but we will be back stronger for it, I am sure of that.”