FOR the majority of our local sides the season is now done and dusted, but what a task London Irish face this Sunday.

Defeat to Saracens and it’s an immediate return to the Greene King IPA Championship after just a season back in the top flight, so can Exiles get their own back for their 44-13 defeat away to the North London side back in October?

Fingers crossed they can, but after the euphoria of their opening-day win against Harlequins it’s been a terrible season for them.

I’m sure the powers that be in the club are already working hard on next season to ensure that they bounce straight back if the worst comes to fruition this weekend.

As much as Irish have struggled it’s full marks to Redingensians Rams.

They’ve had an excellent campaign and, no matter the outcome against Henley on Saturday, they will finish third in the National Two South table and well-placed among the top 50 clubs in the country. That’s no mean feat.

Talking about the higher leagues, I expect you are aware from next season onwards the players from teams at Level Six, South West Division, and above will all come under the new player payment system from the RFU capping the amount they can pay the players in a season for the majority of the clubs – so it’ll be interesting to see how it all works out.

As far as I’m concerned it’s going to be hard to stop a club if they have the money to pay players to get them promoted, and while the RFU will make some clubs an example, the policing of the payments to players is going to be very hard for them to do.

My boys Reading finished their Southern Counties North season on a high with a fourth-straight win against High Wycombe on Saturday, and while it’s not been one of the glory years, we’ve held our own and the youngsters have come through and worked hard.

This squad will definitely be asking some questions next season. They can only get stronger and use what they have learned from this season’s performance next time around to their advantage.

At least we finished the season above Reading Abbey, who have had an up-and-down year which ended on a low note with a trouncing at Windsor.

They changed coach mid-season with Luke Harding taking over from Fungai Mutepfa, and hopefully he can get them on the right track next year.

Lastly, Berkshire Shire Hall finished the week before, but a word for them as they continue to battle on with a sixth-placed finish in the BB&O Championship.

Enjoy the summer!