Best Championship finish for Nottingham

I said in my previous blog that I thought both Championship semi-finals would be close-run things – and they were certainly that.

Leeds ran favourites Newcastle all the way over their two-legged affair, having won the opening game at Headingley.

They eventually went down by just four points on aggregate.

We lost to Bedford by 11 points over the two legs and the result led to mixed emotions.

Finishing second in the league was the highest we have ever finished and reward for some really hard work this season and some really good play too.

There is no disgrace losing to a side like Bedford but, having got to the semi-finals, we never really did ourselves justice.

I don’t want to take anything away from Bedford, because they are a really good side who were better than us over the two legs. But we only really played as we know we can do in the second half of the second leg.

We showed terrific character to come back from a 20-0 deficit at half-time and it was great to be a part of that in front of a big crowd at Meadow Lane of over 3,000.

I’ll look back on our campaign with pride at how well we did, but also a tint of regret that we didn’t show how good we can be in the semis until it was too late.

The final will be close too and I think there will be less than 10 points in it over the two legs. Everyone has been tipping Newcastle for glory but Bedford have plenty of experience of knock-out rugby at the end of the season. And Leeds proved that Newcastle can be got at. It should be a good occasion with the glittering prize of a place in the Premiership up for grabs.

With the season over, I have now got five weeks R&R which will end with me becoming a married man.

And we are warming up for life as a couple by going camping this weekend.

Just me and the soon-to-be Mrs J in a two-man pop-up tent, a conventional barbecue and the stars to keep us company at night.

And people think I can’t do romance.

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