COMBE ST Nicholas manager Darren Manley was pleasantly surprised with his side’s sixth-placed finish in Division 3 of the Somerset County League.

The season was brought to an early end due to the coronavirus pandemic, but still Manley told the Chard & Ilminster News: “The season’s been really good.

“We didn’t expect to be quite so high up the league table and pushing for promotion - maybe next season, but not this year.

“The most pleasing thing has been the way we’ve stuck together.

“We have a young side, with some 16 and 17-year-olds, and I’d say the average age of the side is 21 or 22.

“Not one player has left; obviously we don’t have the same squad every week, but players have been happy for play for the Reserves.

“We’ve had fantastic numbers at training, which is great for us, as it allows us to work on a few things.”

In terms of which player had stood out, Manley said: “Jack Male, our captain, has dragged us over the line a couple of times.

“He’s only 21, but has an old head on young shoulders, and is a good leader.

“Everyone’s been good to be fair - the man of the match awards have been shared around every week.”

Looking ahead, things look positive for the club.

“From early indications, it sounds like most players want to stay for next season,” Manley added.

“We will lose a couple, but we will also be approaching a couple of players ourselves to improve us.

“The County League is likely to restructure a bit, as a couple of teams in Division 1 folded this season, so one or two might get promoted from Division 3.

“If the teams we’re playing are similar to this season, I think we’ll be there or thereabouts next year.”