TOBY Holmes believes winning the Southern League Premier South with Taunton Town was a career high – with the spell also enabling him to step out of his comfort zone.

A feared name amongst defenders in the Dorset Premier League for many seasons prior to making the step up with Poole Town in 2015, Holmes quickly established himself as a reliable source of goals in the Southern League.

Clubs in the Dorset and the surrounding area constantly clamoured for his services, with the striker taking in spells at Poole, Dorchester, Wimborne and Salisbury.

When Taunton boss Rob Dray reached out over social media during lockdown to see if Holmes was open to a move to Somerset, Holmes had some initial reservations.

He told the Daily Echo: “Rob had to go out and find players, and obviously I became available because I was not really enjoying working under (Steve) Claridge at Salisbury.

“I didn't really think it was an option, I just had a message off him on Twitter and then I googled instantly how far away Taunton was.

“I was a bit like ‘augh, it's a bit of a jaunt!’

“But then after a chat to Rob and then that first curtailed season when we met for pre-season, you could already see the quality of the group.”

Whilst Holmes had won promotion with Wimborne and earnt individual accolades for his goalscoring exploits, lifting the title with Taunton last term ranked number one in his footballing experiences.

“I'd say definitely a career high, because it's the highest league I played in and I won it,” explained Holmes.

“Winning the league and having to travel for it was tough, but the experience I've gained from going there, and seeing what you can do if you’ve got the right people in and around it – I’ll never regret it.

“Obviously the journeys were tough sometimes. Finishing work early, on a Tuesday night just for a home game and having to drive an hour and a half for training and stuff like that was difficult.

“I found it harder towards the end of the season when obviously we were on the good run, and I think it was like the Met Police game and the Gosport game, I scored to help the team win the game.

“Then, everyone's in the bar having a drink and then every single person apart from me gets on the coach and I've just got to go and get in the car on my own and drive home.

“So those were the parts that I found tough when we were doing well and I couldn't enjoy it with the boys, and they're sending in videos in a group chat of them all messages and about in the back of the bus and stuff.

“I'm sort of halfway home on my own listening to a podcast. So, there was definitely highs and lows throughout the season.

“But obviously the most important thing was winning the league and we achieved that.”

“So, definitely the best achievement for me in non-league football.”