Knights’ last-minute 24-19 defeat at home to Jersey means that they finished fifth of the eight qualifiers and now face the long trip to face Cornish Pirates in early March.
“I’m very disappointed because we don’t normally lose at home,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths after seeing the club’s 12-match unbeaten run come to an end.
“We weren’t at our best today and I blame myself for the fact that we went for goal a couple of times but we should have kept the pressure and kicked for touch instead.
“Having said that I didn’t miss the tackles at the end and our defence was poor today and in scoring three tries against one they deserved to win.
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“I wasn’t happy to come in 3-3 at half-time even though they needed to score at least four tries to go above us, because we’d had a couple of chances and not taken them.
“We tried to up the tempo at the start of the second half and we got our noses in front at 10-3 and we led 16-10 later on and when that’s the case you don’t start playing football in your own 22.”
He added: “I’m pretty gutted to have lost for the first time in two seasons in the pool games and to see our unbeaten run come to an end.
“But it had to end sometimes and probably better today than against Rotherham on Sunday in the league.”