BIG things were expected at Rhyl FC following a squad overhaul and new management team, and despite a season of relative underachievement, there were still plenty of positives to take from their campaign.

The Lilywhites were out of the Huws Gray Alliance title race relatively early thanks to a sluggish start and the sensational form of eventual champions Airbus Broughton, but Eddie Maurice-Jones and his staff did not take on this project on a one-year basis and they know more must be done in order for the club to get back to the JD Welsh Premier League.

It did take some of the squad a while to get used to playing for a club the size of Rhyl, and they grew into their respective roles as the season went on and demonstrated their prowess with a fantastic run of form prior to the busy Christmas fixture list.

Things fizzled out thereafter and they eventually finished fifth, and it promises to be another busy summer in terms of recruitment as the Lilies’ look to make their presence felt from the outset next time around.

There have been plenty of positive individual contributions throughout the season, with James Murphy emerging as one of the best wide men anywhere in the second tier thanks to a series of standout display.

The form of defender Ben Nash, especially during the first half of the season, was another massive plus for the squad, with promising youngster Cai Owen really coming of age after being given a consistent run of games since moving to the club on a permanent basis.

Another cause for optimism was the acquisition of Sam Molyneux from Gresford Athletic, who performed well after coming in and gave them a presence at the business end of the field that was sorely missing during the early stages of the campaign.

The club’s Academy system continues to be a fantastic source of pride, with a number of youngsters given their chance towards the end of the season to shine with the first team, which will undoubtedly do their overall development the world of good going forward.

With the second tier set to be stronger than ever next season thanks to the impending arrivals of Colwyn Bay and Llandudno, there can be no room for error from the outset and Maurice-Jones will be hoping his side do not endure similar early struggles in the hope of a higher finish and possible promotion.

That will take some astute signings over the off-season, and there are plenty of characters within the squad to make a really good go of it during the next campaign if they can eradicate their defensive errors and become more consistent.