ILKLEY'S head of rugby Rhys Morgan admits he was always expecting the drop after the Rugby Football Union’s mathematical formula confirmed his side's relegation from the North Premier.

The Dalesman had a torrid campaign, only collecting two wins from 21 fixtures, meaning they were 27 points away from safety before the season was brought to a premature end.

As it were, Ilkley finished on 12.28 points and when evaluating the season Morgan thinks the young squad he was left with, after the well documented exodus of players, simply were not good enough at this stage.

"You can’t hide away from it, I won’t wittier on about the players we have lost, ultimately this season we haven’t been big enough or strong enough," he said.

"We weren’t quite at the races. We got a good win against Carlisle around Christmas time but it was never going to be enough to get us back on track.

"We didn’t have enough time to get people to a level that they needed to be. There was a lack of experience and size with a very young squad.

"We changed a lot throughout the season in terms of how we were going to play. In hindsight we made too many changes, it would have been better to do it more gradually.

"A lot of coaches I spoke to the future of their clubs were undecided the likes of Otley and Huddersfield but the writing was on the wall for us so we were in an easier place. We had already accepted relegation and moved on from it.

"We are heading in the right direction with these young players. They are going to be the guys that will bring us forward and we will get them to the level they need to be."

The RFU's formula to decide the fate of their community clubs has raised questions.

The Ilkley chief says he can have no arguments himself, but does feel sorry for those teams who have missed out on promotion or been narrowly relegated.

Morgan said: "I can't complain, you have got to take it on the chin and it was fair to be relegated.

"My heart does go out to the teams who have missed out on promotion like Macclesfield, they did not deserve not to have the chance to compete for it.

"They (RFU) did not look at the teams they were going to play, they just worked it out on a statistical basis and I don’t think that was fair.

"You were never going to keep everyone happy. I think they should have restructured the leagues."

Ilkley will now play in North 1 East next term and Morgan is not setting any long term targets as he wants to take one match at a time.

He said: "It is a tough league I would be very naïve to say we are going to bounce right back.

"We look at Christmas to see where we are and we aim to win every game. If we do come straight back up fantastic but we are just aiming to win the next game."

Morgan also wished the departing Luke Pearson well, who has moved on due to work commitments, and hopes to retain most of his squad.