Gosport & Fareham ended their London two south west campaign with their heaviest defeat of the season.
Barry Bridgman’s side conceded 10 tries in a 64-7 defeat at Camberley on Saturday.
However, the coach felt the performance delivered by his troops deserved better.
Earlier in the week, Bridgman had been informed his two-year tenure at Gosport Park was not going to be extended.
The head coach admitted the decision came out of the blue.
And it has left him hugely disappointed.
‘It came as a bit of a surprise,’ said Bridgman.
‘I think a small group of influential players went to the committee and gave them an ultimatum.
‘They forced them to decide between me or them.
‘Unfortunately, the club decided to go in their direction.
‘For me, it has been two years of hard work with limited resources.
‘It has mostly been me on my own with very few offers of help.
‘I don’t think the whole thing has been handled very well.
‘In the end, a small group of players have got their way.
‘In my first year I accepted the poisoned chalice of a season in London one south.
‘The club would have been relegated in the previous campaign but for Medway falling foul of the rules and being demoted.
‘We knew full well we weren’t strong enough to be in that division.
‘Had we been able to start off in London two it would have been a lot easier.
‘This year it has continued to be difficult with injuries and unavailability.
‘In the end, though, we finished comfortably in mid-table with a 10-12 win-loss ratio.
‘We have also managed to break the away duck that had gone on for nearly three seasons.’
It was always going to be difficult for Gosport & Fareham at Camberley, who were the runaway champions of the division.
The Surrey side outclassed the visitors but Bridgman was pleased with the effort of his team.
And he insisted – despite the defeat – he can walk away from the club with his head held high.
‘We didn’t crumble and kept going right to the end,’ added Bridgman.
‘Had we played like that in some of the games we lost narrowly during the season, the result would have been different.
‘So performance-wise I feel as though I can go out on a high.’