Sudbury Rugby Club look set to be handed a relegation reprieve — but will still need to win at Cantabrigian and hope Wisbech lose at Beccles to guarantee survival.
The Whittome Field outfit go into Saturday’s last game of the season with club officials having been sent information by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) saying London Three North East is ‘likely’ to benefit from only ‘one club instead of the normal three being relegated’ due to a cascade effect of relegated teams above them in the league pyramid.
Sudbury head coach Graham Richards said: “If this is the case it will be a fortuitous ending to what has been a difficult year.”
Sudbury, who currently occupy the third-bottom spot after Saturday’s 18-8 defeat at league champions South Woodham Ferrers, have only won away from home once this season, back on October 12 at East London.
They will also have to become the first team to defeat fifth-placed Cantabrigian on their own turf this campaign to have any chance of getting out of the bottom three.
If the information sent to Sudbury’s chairman of rugby Gareth Evans from the RFU, and seen by the Free Press, about ‘at least three’ and ‘probably four’ teams being relegated from London Three North West, it would mean London Three North East side Sudbury would have been safe before kick-off ahead of this weekend.
Richards said: “It is highly likely only one team will get relegated and only a possibility of two.
“If Harlow beat Canvey Island and we do not win, we stay where we are, which is fortuitous and in which case we will have to work very hard next season as we do not want to be in this position again.”
Richards will have a full-strength side to choose from, bar exciting 17-year-old winger George Wacokecoke, who will be in action for England Under-17s. Ethan Wright (groin) hopes to recover in time, while Mark Bolton is set for a return in the back row.