BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent have completed arguably their most important close-season business by retaining top-scorer Billy Hunt.

The front man attracted interest from rival clubs after finishing with 24 goals last term, in addition to walking away with a hat-trick of awards when the R's held their end-of-season presentation night at the Taydal Stadium.

However, he has nailed his colours to the mast by signing a fresh one-year contract with Tom Rothery's side.

It caps a fruitful week for the Bostik League premier division outfit, having recruited midfield duo Harvey Hodd and Harry Morgan, defender Brad James and re-signed Jake Gould, Jake Turner, Rob Harvey and Tom Dunningham.

Rothery was understandably delighted to keep Hunt.

“Billy's been excellent since I returned to the club and, on a personal level, that’s really pleasing as I put a lot of faith in him when putting him on a contract a couple of weeks after coming back. He’s shown that to be 100 per cent the correct decision," said the Brightlingsea boss.

"(Chairman) Terry (Doherty), (assistant manager) Pip (Boyland) and I met with all the players we wanted to retain in the first week after the season ended and it really shows the mark of the man that as soon as we’d met, Billy shook my hand and agreed to sign again straight away.

"I know he's had several approaches and been offered more than we could offer in terms of a deal.

"But he’s happy at the club, enjoying his football and feels hugely valued, which is excellent.

"So many times you hear of players moving for the wrong reasons and, as a club, we're so lucky to have Billy.

"He's just a great lad - so grounded and humble and, for me, a joy to work with."

Hunt was named man-of-the-match on six occasions during last season's premier division campaign.

In addition to finishing as top scorer, he also received the supporters' player-of-the-season accolade, as well as being the joint-recipient of the manager's award along with Jake Gould.

Rothery believes there is even more to come from him in the 2018/19 campaign.

"Billy was excellent last season," he added.

"It was tougher at the end, as it was for the whole team, but I take a lot of responsibility for that as he played pretty much every minute.

"He was so important to us and I didn’t feel we had enough options to rest him when he needed it.

"That’s something I feel we've done now with the imminent signings and I still feel there’s more to come from Billy.

"There are parts of his game that Pip and I are still improving with him and the nice thing with Billy is that you know he wants to improve.

"He loves scoring goals and embraces anything that will help him do that.

"It’s a massive signing for us and I know it’s one the supporters and everyone connected to the club will be pleased about.

"The fact it was so straightforward will endear him to the hearts of the supporters even more."