MATT Goode has backed Banbury to come back bigger and stronger next season following their play-off heartache.

Bulls were beaten 42-31 by Exeter University last weekend to miss out on promotion to the South West Premier.

It marked the end of an impressive season for Banbury, which saw the side finish runners-up in the sixth tier of English rugby and win the Oxfordshire Cup for a third successive year.

Bulls caught the eye with their expansive style, improving on their points tally from 2016/17 by 50 and scoring 131 tries in South West 1 East.

Head coach Goode believes his side will kick on and learn from the play-off defeat.

He said: “We’ll build on what we’ve achieved this year and we’ll be looking at strategies for next season.

“We’ll strengthen the club and we want to be competing for those top two positions again.

“We’ll have a big rest and make sure we’re fully ready to go next season.”

Goode added: “I’m immensely proud.

“The club have been incredible, they’ve backed us and given us every opportunity to get to where we are.

“I’m be looking forward to 2018/19 and seeing what we can do.”

Banbury led West division runners-up Exeter 17-14.

But Bulls were left to rue two quick tries at the start of the second period.

It proved crucial with 11 points separating the sides at the final whistle, but Goode could not have been prouder of his side’s efforts in Devon.

He said: “Words fail me for how much effort the boys put in, but Exeter are a young side, a good side, and fitness sort of prevailed in the end.

“On a different track it may have been different.

“It’s hard because we lost, but the boys played immensely well.

“I think the scoreline shows what a competitive and great game it was.”

Goode added: “We’ve played some cracking rugby over the season, the supporters have been so loyal.

“If we’d have come out and not performed (against Exeter) I’d have been really disappointed.”

“The performance was there, we were just beaten by a better side.”