World record holder Tyson Lewis insists a year in National One has made him a better player.
His season with the Knights in the third tier will be remembered for scoring in 7.24 seconds at Old Albanian – a feat verified by Guinness World Records as the fastest try in rugby union history.
But the flying winger says he will return to the Championship a more rounded player after a year in the harsh environment of National One.
“As a professional you never stop learning,” Lewis said.
“Dropping down, you find out about yourself and what you’re willing to do.
“Will you turn up to Tynedale in the rain, cold and mud when you’re not used to it?
“A lot of the boys stood up and we found out a lot about ourselves this season.
“We found out some good points and bad points.
“I think a lot of the boys have grown both personally and professionally this year.”
The 29-year-old finished the season as National One’s top try scorer with 22 despite missing the first eight matches of the season through injury.
Lewis credits his team mates with the feat.
He said: “It’s been a rollercoaster year for me.
“I missed those games at the start of the season but I ended up as top scorer and broke a world record.
“I finished top scorer but I wouldn’t be anywhere without the 14 boys supporting me on the pitch.
“It’s a credit to them. I wouldn’t be in that position without them.
“As a winger it’s my job to score tries and I’ll never turn down the chance to score.
“It’s like in football when a striker gets a chance, he’s going to want to take it.”
Lewis says plenty in his family have already put in orders for the next Guinness Book of World Records.
And he cannot quite believe his name will feature in it after his record breaking try, for which he was also presented with Outstanding Sporting Moment of the Year at the Doncaster Sports Awards.
He said: “I’m just a young kid from Essex who wanted to run around and chase a ball.
“You always get told to chase the ball from the kick off most weeks and most of the time you’re wondering what the point is because the opposition are going to catch the ball.
“Well that time they didn’t and the ball dropped in front of me.
“The next thing I know is I’m a world record holder.”
With plenty of Championship experience in the squad already, Lewis expects the Knights to make a good fist of securing their second tier status next season.
He believes just a few tweakes will see the squad ready to compete.
He said: “It’ll be a different test but we’ve been there before. We know what it takes to be in that league and win there.
“Hopefully Clive Griffiths will be able to bring in players that will complement what we’ve got and we’ll stay in that league.”