Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear admits it has been a privilege to have been involved with the club during one of their most successful periods in recent history.
Kear beat off strong competition from Leigh’s Neil Jukes to be named Championship Coach of the Year on Monday having guided Batley to the Super 8s Qualifiers.
Kear’s five-year tenure at Batley will come to an end when he leaves to join Wakefield Trinity but the coach admits he will look back fondly at his time with the Mount Pleasant club.
Speaking at Monday’s Championship awards ceremony, Kear said: “I have been really privileged over the last five years to work with people I like and players who work hard to achieve.
“Batley is a great club, a club who are in the black with a tidy little ground of their own and a club who has progressed on the field of play.
“Hopefully Batley will be in the top four next year and if that is the case, I am certain they will be better.”
Batley travel to Leigh Centurions on Saturday with the home side planning a promotion party in front of a bumper crowd.
They are offering free tickets to fans of both clubs and a near full house at the Leigh Sports Village is expected.
Kear added: “Leigh have been the templates. They went into the Middle Eights last year and learned lots of lessons and have got promoted this time.
“You have got to use experiences to build on and I certainly hope Batley do that in the future.”
Batley earned huge praise for their display against a star studded Leeds Rhinos side last Friday and although they lost 32-0, the Bulldogs left Headingley with pride intact.
Batley’s final game of the Qualifiers is at home to Salford on Sunday September 25.