IVYBRIDGE player-coach Lewis Paterson is gutted he is not playing at Twickenham on Sunday with Devon.
The Green and Whites came so close to reaching the Bill Beaumont Division Two cup final.
Devon claimed big wins over Somerset (39-10) and North Midlands (50-18) and headed to Kent for their final match knowing they needed only a point to reach Twickenham or deny their hosts a four-try win.
However, they were beaten 29-8 by a strong Kent side, who topped the group by just one point.
“It was really frustrating,” admitted Paterson, who started all Devon’s group games, scoring tries in two of them. “There were personal reasons why I wanted to play at Twickenham.
“But Kent were a good side and had a very good forward pack.
“The Devon boys did really well, but we just lost it in the first 20 minutes and ended up chasing the game. It was gutting.”
But Paterson, who earned a Devon cap for playing more than 10 County Championship matches for Devon, was really pleased with how the team performed this season after going six years without a win. He feels the county can now push on.
“It was the tightest Devon squad I have been in,” said Paterson. “The boys just clicked straight away and the atmosphere was brilliant.
“Hopefully, next year will be our year. Everyone is itching to get back in that shirt and try to get to Twickenham.
“We want to keep that frustration of being so close this year. Hopefully, that will add a bit more fire for next year.”
Although they did not reach Twickenham it looks like Devon could be promoted back to the top tier of county rugby by finishing second in their pool due to a restructure of the competition which will see 12 teams in Division One rather than just eight, with it split into four pools.