Retiring skipper Mark Lock has backed Rosslyn Park to be major promotion contenders next season.

The 32-year-old former London Wasps flanker announced his retirement after three years at the Rock having decided to concentrate on his full-time job.

He made 23 appearances last season as Park started the season on fire, topping National One in early January before slipping away drastically in the second half of the campaign to finish fifth.

And Lock believes that experience will stand head coach Jan Bonney’s team in good stead for a full throttle tilt at promotion next season.

“They can push on next year, that is very much the focus of the club, the coaches and the players,” he said.

“They want to play in the Championship and that will be in their mind from the beginning – promotion will be their goal and their focus.

“Last season, we were in a good position in the league at Christmas and things were going well.

“But then we slipped away and by the end were a fair bit off the champions, Jersey.

“It is hard to say why that was – it is always difficult when you lose one or two games to try to continue that focus.

“It is a tight league and anyone can beat anyone and there were games where we were very close to winning.

“Hopefully though, those experiences will help next year.”

Lock made 74 appearances since joining Park from Ealing Trailfinders in 2009 and admitted it will be a struggle not playing rugby and watching instead every Saturday.

“The timing was right for retirement,” he added.

“The body is starting to creak a bit and I have started a new job and that is taking up a fair bit of time.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet but I am sure it will come pre-season training time in August or in September when the season starts.

“I will miss the rugby and playing for Rosslyn Park – I had some of my best years there and enjoyed my rugby.

“As much as it will be quite hard to watch from the sidelines I will go down a fair bit and cheer them on.”