Big test is yet to come, says Brown
Somerset Trojans coach Dennis Brown hailed his young, hungry team as they look forward to an immediate return to the Premier Division after winning this season's First Division.
Brown (pictured) admits his young side exceeded his expectations by achieving promotion to the top flight at the first time of asking as well as winning the Player Development League (PDL) title and Christmas Tournament.
It was only 12 months ago the boys from ‘Silver City' were relegated, which Brown believes actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it gave him the opportunity to blood his youngsters.
“To be totally honest when assistant coach Brian Iris and I sat down before pre-season our main focus was not even promotion, it was to expose as many of our young players to the First Division,” he said.
“This season we used roughly 30 players in our programme and most of them were under 20 years old. We have had a great season because if you look at the make-up of our team we basically play the same players in the PDL, where we won the league and Christmas Tournament and are still in the semi-final of the KO Cup. Although it hurt us to get relegated looking back it was a real blessing.
“Going into this season there was no pressure from ex-president Richard Scott to come right back up. In the pre-season meeting he wanted us to stay down for at least two seasons to make sure that when we came back we would be ready to not only survive but to also be very competitive in all competitions.
Not resting on his laurels, Brown is already looking towards next term and wants his side to work on their weaknesses as they prepare for the top tier.
“I must applaud the BFA in relation to the PDL in that this allowed us to really see who was ready for the first team and who wasn't,” he said.
“There is still too much emphasis on winning in the PDL at the expense of development. I feel that once a player has played for his country and over 23 then they should not be allowed to play in the PDL league.
“I don't want the players to try and emulate the Silver City of old. I want them to create their own legacy and they have started that by being the first SCC team to win the First Division, PDL Christmas Tournament, PDL League.
Brown has also praised the club's veterans for helping bring along the less experienced players this season. He said. “The older players like Johnny Bean, Danvers Seymour, Darin Minors, Jensen Rogers and Jelani Scott really nurtured the youngsters.
“The older players will be even more important next season.
“Next season will be a great opportunity for us to see how far the team has matured in three seasons because remember many of them were 16, 17 and 18 last season but next season they will be 18, 19, 20.”
One characteristic Brown believes his side is lacking is a ruthless edge. “I still feel that we are too nice where we need to be a lot tougher when and where it counts,” he said.
“Sometimes in sports good guys finish last and that doesn't mean I'll tell my team to play dirty, but I do tell them don't be afraid to mix it up when the going gets tough on the pitch.”
Trojans play promoted Robin Hood at BAA Field tomorrow night. Kick off is at 7pm.