St Ives Roosters skipper Mickey Blackley was left ‘completely gutted’ in the wake of an East Premier League Grand Final defeat.
The local lads failed to retain their title when going down 47-22 at Bedford Tigers on Saturday in a repeat of the 2014 showpiece.
Blackley admitted: “We gave everything, but came up against a good Bedford side who were full of confidence from their fine recent form.
“Home advantage always seems to help in games between us two teams and they had it on this occasion.
“I’m completely gutted with the result, but I have a sense of pride for all our players.”
Roosters struck the first blow as Tom Ransom forced his way through a host of tackles to touch down, but that unconverted try would prove to be their only score of the first half.
It meant a 17-4 interval deficit and Bedford added two further tries before Roosters hit back as Luke Slade and Ransom dashed in to score with player-coach Paul Ashbridge successfully steering both conversions between the posts.
But a combination of unforced errors and poor discipline cost Roosters dear just as they were building momentum.
A first-ever try for Phil Kneeshaw proved nothing more than a consolation as three further Tigers scores emphasised their superiority.
Blackley added: “It’s been a long five months, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first season as captain of a great club.
“I must thank everyone behind the scenes for their help and support during what has been an up and down season.
“I also need to thank the lads for their efforts. Most turn up week in, week out and put their bodies on the line to ensure we continue to compete in big games.”
Roosters are great to club sponsors Finaids, Bourne Skip Hire, Pod Tents and the Floods Tavern.