Prop Becky Williams insists her Lichfield team-mates have nothing to be ashamed of - despite spending almost the entire campaign languishing in the Premiership's bottom two.
With the women’s team upping their international commitments ahead of the World Cup kicking off in London in August, the RFU opted to halt relegation from the top flight in 2010.
The Staffordshire club sit second bottom with just two games of the season remaining after seeing injuries and international call-ups decimate their campaign but have run both Bristol and Darlington Mowden Park close in recent weeks.
And after being spared a battle for survival this season, Williams has backed Lichfield to reap the benefits of a campaign of toil next term.
“It has been a tough season in some ways but also, and this is perhaps strange to say since we are second from bottom in the league, it has also been a great progression for our team on the whole,” said Williams.
“I don’t think our position reflects our performances. The games we have lost have been very close so it is now all about going that extra little bit and turning them around next year.
“For some of the girls, the amount of rugby they have had to play has been huge due to injuries and the Six Nations.
“They are juggling a job and doing a 40-hour week on top of it so everyone here has really dug deep and worked really hard which bodes well for the future.”
Despite notching just three wins all season, Lichfield are 18 points clear of rock-bottom Team Northumbria, who have just a single losing bonus point to their name.
But Williams, whose side sit 40 points shy of champions Richmond, believes the 2009/10 season is the most competitive running of the women’s Premiership to date.
She added: “I think this season in the Premiership has been the best it has ever been because I think this has been the first year where it was anyone’s to win.
“Usually you were just waiting for Saracens to pick up the title but I think this year is the first time they have lost. So it has been great for the game of women’s rugby.
“We started out with a very young squad of players and that has now matured so next year we will be looking to get a top three or four finish.”