BLACKBURN Eagles coach Scott Barnett believes the fact that the club is folding at the end of the season harmed their NIHL Laidler Conference play-off ambitions after his side suffered a semi-final defeat to Sheffield Senators on Saturday.

The Eagles wrapped up the league title last month and were all set for promotion to the NIHL Moralee Conference only for a dispute with Blackburn Arena over increased costs and sponsorship issues seeing the club fold.

Since then Barnett’s men have failed to win a game, a run that extended to the play-offs as they lost their last four clash 3-1 in what was their final fixture.

“It wasn’t the fairytale finish we wanted,” said Barnett.

“I didn’t realise it until after the game but since we have spoken to the lads about folding we have not won a game and I find that quite telling.

“It has definitely affected the players.

“You could see they wanted it on Saturday but things just didn’t go for us.

“We have made the decision that we will not be entering into discussions with the rink arena to continue in Blackburn and realistically I don’t think we will play out of another rink.”

The Eagles found themselves three down inside the opening 20 minutes of Saturday’s semi-final and despite a goal from Jordan Ashington they couldn’t find a way back into the contest as the home side held on to the victory.

“We didn’t deserve to win the game and we were nowhere near our best,” said Barnett.

“We had great support from the Blackburn fans but Sheffield were the better team and deserved the victory.”

One bright spot for Barnett over the weekend came when he was named coach of the year for the Laidler Conference.

He added: “It was a great honour because it is voted for by other teams in the league but the celebrations were muted given the result.”

Sheffield Senators were beaten in the final by Widnes Wild who had overcome Altrincham Aces in the last four.