Tom Summers is determined to put his recent injury woes behind him as he focuses on Sudbury’s season opener at Rochford Hundred.
The former Sudbury captain endured a frustrating 2014-15 season, as he was forced to watch on from the sidelines while the club secured promotion and the London League Division Three North East title.
After suffering another injury set-back during pre-season, Summers has recovered in time for their Division Two North East opener at Rochford on Saturday (3pm).
“I missed the second-half of the season and also missed the start of pre-season,” Summers said. “I had another arthroplasty on my knee around mid-August and am recovering from that.
“I got my first 20 minutes back on the pitch during the friendlies, and now I’m hoping I’ll be able to play some part in the first game on Saturday.”
Sudbury lost just one game during their title-winning campaign in Division Three North East in 2014-15, as they sealed the championship with two games to spare.
Promotion clinched a return to level seven rugby union at the fourth attempt, and Summers is adamant that Sudbury will not be there to just make up the numbers.
“We always set our standards high,” he said. “We’re keeping it quiet as to what our targets are.
“We’re going to play the first three games and then sit down together as a team and have a review, to see where we are at.
“It’s a new league and we don’t really know what to expect. We could struggle in size, being a smaller side, but we’ve got the skill across the team to comprehend that.”
Summers captained Sudbury right up until his injury last season, and led the club to their first trophy since 1999 at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Graham Richards’ side saw off Ipswich YM 38-27 to lift the Suffolk Cup, and 12 months later Sudbury followed that success with the Division Three North East title.
For Summers both memories hold contrasting emotions, with the ex-skipper unable to play for a large part of their championship-winning campaign last season.
“It was hard not being able to play,” he said. “But at the same time it was quality watching the team play so well and all contribute.
“I’m really focusing on my rugby this season and hopefully I’ll be able to get a place in the squad for Saturday.
“It’s going to be a really exciting season and there’s a lot of competition for places. I’ve got to rise to it.”
n Sudbury finished their pre-season with a 36-26 win over West Norfolk on Saturday.
n Sudbury trio Jasper Boydell, Will Ponty and Chris Lewis all featured for Eastern Counties in their season-opening defeat to Notts, Lincs and Derby.