MELKSHAM Town boss Kieran Baggs insists the credit for a first-ever promotion to the Southern League goes to his players despite him masterminding the achievement in his first season in charge.

The Oakfields club's elevation as Toolstation League Premier Division runners-up was confirmed by Buckland Athletic's home defeat at the hands of Hengrove Athletic on Thursday.

That result leaves Buckland 12 points adrift of second-placed Melksham, a gap that cannot be overturned over their final three games.

Baggs took the manager's role last summer after serving a 12-month apprenticeship under former boss Darren Perrin, who subsequently moved up to become club chairman, and has guided the club Southern League level for the first time in their 142-year history.

Having not long moved into their new Oakfields stadium and now a higher level of football to look forward to, the future at Town looks extremely healthy and Baggs believes it's his squad that deserves all the plaudits.

"It's only my first season as manager and when I brought Bally (Luke Ballinger) as assistant and we both sat down to assess it, we both had big dreams, but it's a different matter to put them into practice on the pitch,'' said Baggs.

"We've proved a lot of people wrong, but the credit has got to go down to the players.

"We had that amazing FA Vase run (they lost in the quarter-finals to Thatcham in February) where we lost to a last-gasp goal and sometimes that has an effect on teams and they fall away.

"But I think it galvanised us and they found a little bit extra to keep going.''

Baggs knows the next step promises to be another big one for his club, but believes their experiences of last summer will stand them in good stead.

"At the start of the season, we only really had a few weeks to prepare,'' he added. "It was only three weeks really, but we managed to get it together and we've come through.

"In terms of progressing, it's something we're getting used to. There will be more requirements in pre-season, the players will need to be fitter and new players will need to come in.

"But the players already here will be getting their chance in the Southern League because they deserve it.''