Coaching duo want promotion

TWO former players will lead Sudbury Rugby Club’s bid to bounce back from relegation to London 3NE next season, writes Russell Claydon.

Lee Cooper and Scott Harries have been handed the reigns on a player/coach basis for 2011/12 with one aim: to get Sudbury back from whence they came.

After a season that began with hopes of promotion to London One North, to join the likes of Bury St Edmunds and Colchester, the Blues found themselves losing key players and becoming embroiled in a relegation battle, which saw them fall through the trapdoor.

But Sudbury chairman Mike Beckett told the Free Press he hopes former professional Mark Bolton’s replacements will be just what the club needs to find a winning formula at the lower level.

“Both have got good experience, are known to the players and put their hands up to give it a go,” he said. “I’m excited about the prospect of two local players taking charge for the challenge ahead and our immediate bid for promotion for 2012.”

The Whittome Field based club hope to benefit from the formation of Sudbury Gladiators rugby league side, with a new pool of players based at Colchester Garrison to draw on if they wish to play both codes.

Exciting prospect Shaun Smith got his first taste of rugby league action as the England Colleges’ player, alongside Sam Bixby, looks to maintain his sharpness over the summer months.

Harries has a leading role at the league side and played in the 36-26 defeat of Bury Titans on Saturday, having to leave the field after injuring his ankle.

Both Cooper and Harries have experience of coaching senior players and will provide key experience to the side on the field with a largely young group.