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Queen's Park Rangers are back in the Premier League after seven years away as they carried off the South West Combination title.
Martino Chevannes' side led the table for the vast majority of the season and won 16 of their 18 league matches but it wasn't until the last match of the season that they were confirmed as Champions.
Rangers got off to a fine start, winning their opening six matches before sharing a 1-1 draw with Team Bath. They then continued their winning run but a defeat to title rivals Plymouth Argyle appeared to put matters in the Devon side's hands. Rangers and Argyle kept winning matches until QPR's last match of the season when a win would put them beyond the reach of Plymouth. Rangers duly ran out 4-1 winners to land their first ever Combination League title.
Martino Chevannes has assembled a strong squad, spearheaded by prolific striker Cherelle Albert who had a magnificent season, scoring 32 goals in the process. Former Charlton Athletic winger Susannah Abbott was also a key member as were Amy Murphy, captain Simone Dwyer and Mel Bidewell amongst others.
"We are ecstatic to finally be making a return to the Premier League after a seven year absence," said Martino Chevannes. "The players and staff know that its going to be tough but are relishing the challenge ahead, the majority of teams that have gone up from the South West Combination have gone on to firmly establish themselves in the league above, the most recent being Reading FC Ladies.
"The fact that only one side goes up from this league makes it all the more of a special achievement for the team that is lucky enough to claim that solitary top spot .This league is full of teams that have the quality as well as being good enough to compete at a higher level whilst most certainly being able to hold their own up there.
"For us it has been a long hard and very competitive season with some memorable games and one in Which we have been pushed hard all the way by some very good sides.
"In recent seasons you have always had a situation whereby a couple of teams pull away from the rest early on and are left to fight it out between themselves but this season was different in that you had five very formidable teams including ourselves, Yeovil, Forest Green, Plymouth and Team Bath who were inseparable and all in with a shout for over three quarters of the season which is a credit not only to this league but also the teams who play in it and the standard of football that they produce week in week out.
"Likewise you had teams such as Chesham United and Swindon who had bad starts to the season but eventually found their form and got better and better in the latter part of the season.
"The togetherness and the spirit within our squad is exceptional and that will stand us in good stead for next season. Its strange but for me personally it's a feeling of mixed emotions at present, I am over the moon about us reaching our goal and us playing premier league football next season but at the same time part of me is sad to be leaving such a good and well run league behind, but I go with fond memories.
"Looking ahead for us the hard work begins now to make sure that we are fully prepared for the start of next season and with it give ourselves the best possible chance of staying up, its inevitable that we will have to strengthen the squad so between now and the start of the season I will be looking to bring in some players with the ability to, or experience of playing at that higher level."
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