BURNHAM-ON-SEA RFC skipper Ross McKechan described the club’s relegation from Western Counties West as a “hideous feeling”.

The club had spent 10 years at their current level but their fate was sealed by a 39-10 home defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Paignton on Saturday.

Reflecting on a tough campaign, McKechan said: “There have been a combination of factors going against us.

“We started fairly positively but it soon became apparent that the same issues as last year - in terms of availability, travelling and commitment - were going to crop up again.

“We lost a couple of players to other teams as well, so it’s been difficult.”

Burnham’s cause was not helped by some of the long trips required at Western Counties West level, which is predominantly made up of sides in Cornwall and South Devon.

“It [travelling] is a massive issue,” McKechan said.

“We’ve got lads who work evenings at the weekends or on Saturday mornings, so they can’t commit to travelling all that way.

“It’s hugely frustrating as we’ve got an impressive pool of talent and when everyone is available we can compete, but that just didn’t happen often enough.”

Burnham drop into Somerset Premier for next season, allowing an opportunity to regroup and - crucially - travel less.

“Based on this season, that probably is the level we should be playing at,” McKechan said.

“It was probably quite unfair on a lot of our young lads, though they are very talented, to drop them in at the level we are playing at but our availability issues meant they had to step up.

“The numbers at training have been better than ever and we do have a lot of talent coming through the ranks.

“Next year we can give them further opportunities at a more suitable level and there will also be some derbies to look forward to.”

Despite the struggles of the 2017/18 campaign, McKechran has not let his enthusiasm for the game waver.

“It has been tough at times but I love playing rugby and we’ve got a good set of lads,” he said.

“Now we just have to try and keep our spirits up and keep going until the end of the season.”

Burnham have four games to play, starting with the visit of Tiverton on Saturday.