BOSS Steve Cuss hailed the “huge strength of character” of his Cherries’ women squad to put the disappointment of missing out on promotion behind them to lift the Hampshire Senior Cup.

Despite going the entire National League Division One South West campaign unbeaten, Cherries did not clinch the one promotion spot up for grabs, after a final-day 1-1 draw with leaders Exeter City.

But little over a week on, Cherries ended their season with the consolation of silverware, retaining the county cup with a 3-1 win over Southampton’s under-21s in the final at Aldershot Town.

Reflecting on the win, sealed by goals from Kenni Thompson, Lucy Cooper and Erin Bloomfield, Cuss told afcbTV: “I was really pleased. I thought it was a really strong performance.

“I thought we dominated the ball, obviously scored three goals, hit the post, hit the bar.

“I thought we were strong on the night and that’s a real credit to the players.

“I thought they’ve done superbly well this week.

“The disappointment of last week, to come in and train as well as they’ve trained this week, to prepare for this game, shows a huge strength of character from all of them to put a performance on like that.”

Cuss added: “We wanted to finish strong. We had that disappointment last week and we talked about it and said we’ve got a cup final and a chance to win some silverware, retain the trophy.

“That’s what we wanted to do.

“It was full focus on that and that’s how special this group is, that they’re determined, they want to win, they want to be the best that they can and they work exceptionally hard.

“It was a really strong performance and a nice way to end a really good season.

“On the night, I thought we were worthy winners.”