NEIL Mitchell has praised the work done by departing Stourbridge coaches Thinus Delport and Chris Fortey.

The pair will not be part of the Stourton Park set-up next season but their efforts on the training field have not gone unnoticed.

“We have been very fortunate to have been able to work with two top class people in Thinus (inset) and Chris,” the Saxons chief said.

“They have vast experience and I know that the players have benefitted from that. Hopefully the experience of working with these two will stick with them and help the Saxons bounce back next season.”

Mitchell is looking to bring in player-coaches for the forwards and backs ahead of their National Two campaign.

He also said that the majority of his squad would be staying at Stourton Park.

“We have 11 signatures so far and they are all main players,” Mitchell said. “It is essential that if we are to bounce back then we need to maintain the core of the side from this season.

“I need to make additions and one of my aims will be to reintroduce our second team because we need some depth.

“That has been an issue during the season when we have had to loan players from clubs and that has not given us any continuity.”

A catalogue of injuries to key players hindered Stourbridge’s progress this season and Mitchell is keen to put the disappointment behind him.

“The end couldn’t come quickly enough for me,” he admitted. “In all my years in the game I’ve never known so many things go against us. We need to put this behind us and start again.

“It has been very difficult for the players to get out of a rut once they are in it. It is very difficult when you have so many youngsters to get things back on track.”

Among the players to sign up for the Saxons next season are leading try-scorer Nathan Bressington, skipper Ben Hughes and his second row partner Robbie Hurrell.

Scrum-half Peter White, who was presented with the Supporters’ player-of-the-year award after Saturday’s 22-14 loss to Tynedale, has agreed terms as has Mitchell’s player-of-the-year Ben Barkley.