LUCTONIANS' Head Coach Ryan Watkins has vowed that his team will stick together and return to the National League 2 North following their relegation.

His side won four games on the bounce to set up a final day showdown with Champions Sale but fell to a 22-21 defeat and one try short of the bonus point victory which they required.

Watkins was left ruing missed chances against Sale as his side gave everything in search of victory.

"We'll be looking to come back next year and get back into National League 2 North by winning the league below," said Watkins.

"If we are going to do that then we've got to take our chances. We've gone down but all the boys are staying and the squad will stay the same. We've just taken a team who will be in National League 1 next year right down to the wire and they've beaten us by a point.

"If we can do that and perform in the same way in the league below we'll be a hell of a side to beat next year. The first thing everybody said was that they were staying here next year, we're coming back up and that's it we've got to.

"We've shown that character now and if we can keep that together. This is my first year leading and the way we're trying to play is really coming through strongly now in the last few weeks and we've just got to keep that momentum going.

"This has brought us closer together as when everybody else wrote us off that was the turning point. Everybody else had turned their backs on us and we stayed tight as a group. We’ve had no bickering or arguing, everybody has been on the same page together working as hard as they can.

"That’s going to carry us in good stead for next year."