HEAD coach Doug Sheppard admits it has been a "real joy" to help Bracknell Bees have their most successful season for more than a decade, writes Dave Wright.

In his first year at the club, he has helped to turn things around by making significant improvements on and off the ice which should lay the foundations for making them even more successful in the years ahead.

Sheppard, who has agreed to stay with the Bees for at least three more years, said: "This is a club with a great history and to be able to help write some new chapters has been a real joy. I’d just like to take some time to say thank you to all the people who made this happen.

"Firstly, to all the players who iced for the Bees this season and helped lead us to our most successful season in 11 years.

"While we weren’t able to achieve our ultimate end goal of silverware, I’m sure everyone will agree that it has been a great learning experience, with plenty to take forward in the coming seasons."

Sheppard also paid a glowing tribute to his "fantastic backroom staff" which included Adrian Worship, Matt Plested, Drew Poulson, Jock Hutchinson, Tony Skinns, Steve Merry and Brian Miller, along with Jason Notaro and David Spalton, who drove the team's equipment van to away games.

He continued: "Big thanks also needs to go out to all our off-ice officials who give up their game-nights to ensure that the matches go ahead without a hitch."

Sheppard also thanked club directors Stuart Robinson, Rob Lamey and Richard Dobney, adding: "We had plenty of work to do over the months leading into the season to get things set up. We all have the best interests of the club at heart and, with the solid foundations now in place, can’t wait to kick on next season."

Sheppard was also full of praise for the Bees Supporters Club who raised more than £20,000 during the season.

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