CRAIG Burrows has confirmed he will stay on as Grove head coach – and is targeting an immediate return to the sixth tier, writes Jack Johnson.

The Welshman agreed to come back to the club in October following the resignation of Neil Hunter.

Burrows, who originally stepped down as head coach in May 2016 after five years in charge, was unable to prevent Grove suffering relegation from South West 1 East.

Despite only returning until the end of 2017/18 season, the former Chinnor second row has decided to extend his stay.

Burrows said: “My decision was all based on whether the players were willing to give it another year.

“If we started to lose players, I would have had to of thought long and hard about whether I wanted to pull a new squad together.

“But everyone has committed for next year to try to bounce back up.

“It’s going to be a massive challenge to do that, but it’s given us the best possible chance.”

“It’s also given me an opportunity to have a proper pre-season and hit the ground running in September rather than at the end of October which was very difficult.

“I saw enough quality against some of the top teams which we should have beaten.

“If we can improve fitness levels and commitment we will be there or thereabouts.”

Grove were expecting to be placed in Southern Counties North next season, where they would have been handed local derbies against Wallingford and Littlemore.

But they have been put in the South division, resulting in four-hour round trips to the likes of Yeovil.

The south Oxfordshire club have accepted the decision and are relishing the challenge.

Burrows said: “It will be quite refreshing, we’re not going back to playing old adversaries.

“We will be facing new teams and the travelling will also be a new challenge.

“If we are playing well and enjoying it, the longer journeys could work in our favour to bring the squad together.”