CARL Robinson is desperate to see Hartlepool Rovers turn the negative of a cup final defeat into a glorious positive in the league next season.
Robinson and the rest of the Friarage camp were left “gutted” by Wednesday night’s devastating Durham Intermediate Cup final defeat by Consett.
Rovers were beaten 31-29 at Hollow Drift, where James Evens hit the post with the a penalty with the last kick of a thrilling showdown.
But Robinson and fellow coach Graham Puckrin saw enough in the team’s performance to convince him they can translate their good rugby into next season’s Durham Northumberland One programme.
Rovers played some excellent stuff, scoring four tries, three of them from the irrepressible Ian Coulson, and at one time it looked as though they might run away with it.
“I’ve never known a mood like it after a game,” he told SportMail.
“It was as though someone had died – everyone was downhearted.
“But I’ve spoken to quite a lot of the lads since and while we’re all still gutted, there was a lot we took out of Wednesday night.
“It all bodes well for the future in my view.
“I hope the lads now realise what me, Puck and Mick Ainslie have been banging on about over the last year that they can play good rugby.
“We let it slip away on the night – we should have tied it up at 26-7 – but in those first 50 minutes or so, we showed what we can do when we put our minds to it.
“We have got good players, who can play that fluid, expansive game.
“If we play this type of game in the league next season we can be there or thereabouts – we should not be down in eighth place with the players we have.
“But it’s no good just me, Puck and Mick going on about it and me saying it in the Mail.
“The lads have to buy into it and go out and do it.
“I want us to have a bit of a break now – the lads need it after a long and hard season.
“But then I’d like to see us dust ourselves down and come back stronger, better and fitter.
“There is a feel-good factor back in the place which is great to see.
“Yes, we are downhearted about Wednesday, but I think the penny dropped in that game that the lads now know they can play and now’s the time to take it on.
“I said after the game that a defeat like that could make or break us – it’s up to all of us now to say it’s going to be the making of us.”