THE chairman of Furness RUFC believes a more ‘consistent’ squad is the key to a higher league placing next season following the Rugby Football Union's decision to allocate points for the remaining games based on previous form with the nation on lockdown.

Furness RUFC finished tenth (out of 13) in Cumbria Division One with chairman Chris Reid saying a problem for the club was getting a settled squad. The team ended up being docked five points for failing to pull a squad together on the allocated date for one of its matches.

“It’s so difficult these days with work commitments and everything else,” said Reid. “Our problem was getting a regular squad out on a Saturday. A consistent squad makes a massive difference.

“I don’t think we had the same team out two consecutive Saturdays, just (due to) work commitments and non-availabilities.”

However, he praised the team, which he felt were on an upward curve as the season wore on despite these obstacles.

“I think we started to show some real improvement on the field and put in some pretty good performances against the top sides,” he said.

“We were encouraged by that until this [the coronavirus pandemic] started occurring.”

He singled out ‘influential’ captain and number eight Corne Els for praise, saying he held the squad “together on and off the field”, as well as manager Dai Humphreys who “stuck with it” resolutely throughout the season despite the difficulties.

Looking ahead to next term, Reid added: “If we look at the progress we have made in the latter part of this season, with a consistent squad we can be fully optimistic about how it will go next year.”

The other Rugby Union team to play in Barrow - Hawcoat Park - finished sixth in the same league, while Millom finished one place and three points above Furness in ninth.

Windermere RUFC endured a difficult season in the league, finishing twelfth with 20 points.

“I would say that we had a few untimely injuries in key positions,” said club chairman Tim Wragg.

“We’d like to see a few more players. We’d like to recruit a few more players so that we have strength in depth, so when we travel, we travel with a full squad.”

Regarding next season, Wragg said: “We would hope to be competing and getting to the final of the Cumbria Vase again (which the club won in 2019) if they run it.”

He added the goal of the club “really should be a top three finish” but said he would be happy with a top five placing.