YORK Ladies rugby league team ended their season on a disappointing note - but coach Andy Fletcher still had high praise for his charges.

York lost 54-0 to Bradford Thunderbirds in the final of the Women's Amateur Rugby League Association (WARLA) Plate competition at the weekend.

Fletcher, though, says that scoreline was harsh and he has lauded the improvements his team have made, while setting sights higher for next season.

"Bradford Thunderbirds are the best side in the country by a mile," he said. "I don't think the result did us justice. We kept going for the full 80 minutes and kept our heads up but they were just too good on the day.

"They've got a couple of England players and they stood out. We played well but our defence was not as good as it could have been, and Bradford have done that to a lot of teams."

The plate final was York's fourth in four seasons, and their third defeat. Fletcher, who took the reins at the start of term, is now targeting a WARLA Cup final appearance.

"I think we've improved this year," he said. "It's not always easy when a new coach comes in but the players have done well. They've responded to what I've been asking them to do.

"It's now onwards and upwards. The target is to finish in the top three next season and make the cup final rather than the plate final. We were unlucky not to do that this year when we went to Rochdale with only 11 players and lost by only four points.

He added: "We're going to have a couple of extra players coming in next year from the York Ravens Under-16s and hopefully we can keep improving."