DIRECTOR of Rugby Steve Whitehead firmly believes the overriding sense of positivity surrounding Kendal RUFC’s season acts as a line in the sand after the barren years of the recent past.
The former open-side flanker took over the Mint Bridge reins last July after returning to the club he represented as a player between 1985 and 1999.
After suffering relegation last season, Whitehead steered the Black and Ambers to a fourth-place finish in North One West, a campaign he believes can act as a springboard for the future.
“I said right at the start of the season it was about consolidation and stopping the rot, giving the lads confidence in their own ability and performance and that’s been achieved,” he said.
“A lot of the younger players are now a season more mature and strong and I’m really pleased with the way some of those players have come through.
“And I’ve also had great support from club stalwarts and I think between us all we’ve managed to buy into the same ethos and turn things around which has been brilliant.
“We’ve changed our game back to what suits us and have developed in our right. There is a long way to go but fourth is a fair reflection of where we are.
“I said right at the start, fourth would be credible and anything above difficult, while anything further would be counter-productive right now.”
The Black and Ambers concluded their campaign with a 29-12 defeat against Wirral as the Merseyside outfit claimed promotion and the league title.
This represented a fourth defeat in five matches for Kendal, although Whitehead insists their form since the turn of the year shows the promise his charges possess.
“We had a very good run of results after Christmas and got some great wins which set us up nicely,” he added.
“And although latterly we had a string of losses, you look at what we’ve lost by, before and after Christmas, and it was a by a maximum of seven points.
“And we also scored a huge amount of bonus points which means we’ve been committed right throughout the game.
“We had a season sign-off meeting this week and when the lads looked at where we lost and by how much they were surprised how close games were.
“You look back in black and white and see how very small margins in say January can perhaps cost you later on.
“But that’s all part of the mental awareness of younger lads and them growing in maturity and experience.”