Champions can now start the celebrations

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BOURNE RFC were finally crowned as Lincolnshire Merit League champions this week.

The club has led the league for most of the season but was forced to wait until results elsewhere confirmed that they could not be caught.

Despite the frustration of several cancelled matches and injuries to Glen Smith, Matt Cuffe, Calum Weston and Simon Sleight, Bourne top the league after all teams’ best 12 results are included in a final table.

Bourne recorded an unbeatable 12 victories, all with bonus points, scoring 547 points in these 12 games and conceding only 99.

They will receive their trophy at the league’s annual presentation dinner in June.

Neil Oglesbee, who has played in most of Bourne’s games this season, said: “It’s a very good feeling. There were a couple of teams still playing last weekend but now it has been confirmed. Until then, we were half celebrating but still wondering.

“Considering the players that we lost I think what we achieved was great. To lose a third of the first team and still win shows the strength in depth at the club.

“We thought we should be up there or thereabouts but did not think we would win it.

“The important thing was getting a full side out each week – unlike in previous years.”

Bourne RFC have already applied to join the higher level Midlands League from the start of next season and Oglesbee added: “Now we need to get more sponsorship and players for next season. As soon as we know what league we are going into we can plan properly.

“We’ll probably switch to two nights training – one for fitness and another for skills and tactics, when we can work on lineouts and other areas that we have not been able to.

“We also got to the semi-final of the Merit League Cup. Now we will have a little break before resuming training in June.”

The club also plans to field a second XV next season, which would play in the Lincolnshire league.

l AN over’s 30s team will compete in a four team tournament at March this weekend, then the club will turn it’s attention to end-of-season celebrations with the club’s annual awards night on May 11 when former British Lion and Ireland international Tyrone Howe will be the club’s guest speaker. Tickets cost £20. Visit brufc.net for details.