New Old Brodleians coach John Cole has targeted steady progression - but not an immediate return to North One East - as a realistic goal for his side this winter.
Cole was speaking after Saturday’s 28-23 home reversal at the hands of North Ribblesdale in Yorkshire One, a contest in which they trailed 28-0 after 32 minutes before mounting a stirring fightback.
Brods had won their opener at Dinnington but they have been hit by widespread defections in the wake of last season’s relegation and the departure of Cole’s predecessor Ian Armitage.
“This is not a one-year and straight back up side,” said Cole, who praised his players’ “enthusiasm, spirit and attitude” against the far more experienced and well-organised Dalesmen.
Cole wants improvement week on week and said Saturday’s performance showed the building blocks were in place.
There was only one side in it for much of the first half as Brods, rocked by the loss of their strongest ball carrier Luke Scrimshaw with an arm injury inside 10 minutes, tried in vain to defend their line against the slope.
Outmuscled up front and unable to hang on to what scraps of possession they had, North Ribblesdale soon took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Quick ruck ball meant centres Jonathan Richards and Simon Colland had a field day. The pair both crossed the whitewash, together with fellow backs David Fox and Steve Moon, and Richards added all four conversions as the side from Settle built their lead,
Brods were facing annihilation and humiliation but they got a toe-hold in the game with a Danny Wood penalty four minutes before the break and then turned things around in remarkable fashion.
They were boosted by a try from young prop Alex Dawson, after some fine rugby, just a minute in and by an excellent individual effort from No 8 Danny Vento, punching above his weight, on 55 minutes.
Wood added both conversions to make it 17-28 and the young fullback added penalties on 64 and 74 minutes to earn Brods a losing bonus point.
There was a flurry of yellow cards - one for Brods and two for the visitors - but a Ribb side who had been desperate to break up the flow of the play with numerous stoppages steadied the ship in the closing stages.