SKIPTON have retained their place in Yorkshire Three next season after narrowly beating the drop.

Last Friday, the Rugby Football Union decided to use a formula based around home and away records to determine promotion and relegation in the community game, after the coronavirus pandemic had brought the season to an early end.

This led to Skipton finishing in 12th on 32.85 points, above the relegated Rotherham Phoenix (31.91) and Aireborough (14.44).

Head coach, Craig Bartlett, admits his team have not been good enough this campaign but is pleased that they have a chance to redeem themselves next year.

He said: "Everybody at the club, committee, players are really pleased that we have secured Yorkshire Three again for next season.

"The position we found ourselves in was from our own doing. We worked hard after Christmas to try get every point that we could.

"We could have finished a lot higher if we had been a bit more disciplined.

"If you were at the top or bottom of the table it was always going to be a tough decision. It has come out the fairest way possible.

"We were equal on points with Handsworth on 27, then you had Rotherham on 25 and Aireborough on 10. We were playing some good rugby.

"There were probably five/six games in the season where we had lost by one point. If we had taken those games we would have been in a lot better position.

"The last game we played we lost by a couple of points. In the last 30 seconds, we lost the ball in the ruck and Castleford scored. We lost against Baildon by a point.

"There have been games across the season that we didn’t close out and it put us under pressure coming into the back end of the season. We are delighted to play in Yorkshire Three next season."

Bartlett did offer his commiserations to Rotherham who had been a fierce competitor to Skipton all season with the battle to beat the drop expected to go down to the wire before the campaign was forced to finish.

He added: "When we went to Rotherham they beat us by one point. They were 21 points up in the first half and we lost 26-25.

"They had a big change around, the season before they were really strong. For them they will feel like they had a decent chance to avoid relegation as well."

Despite, Bartlett's men surviving, the head coach still thinks his players would have liked to play the remainder of the season out.

He said: "With the work we have been putting in, I think we would have been fine.The guys feel like they have been robbed.

"We are looking to plan for next season already. The guys have got to find motivation to keep training on their own and do some personal training from home.

"I am in contact with most of them and the common theme is that everybody will be available next season."