‘Play-off spot is in our hands’

FLYLING HIGH: Sudburys Justin Burton catches from a line out
FLYLING HIGH: Sudburys Justin Burton catches from a line out
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Justin Burton is grateful that Sudbury RUFC’s play-off fate is in their own hands as they head into their final three league games of the season.

Sudbury return to action this weekend after a two-week break in pole position to finish second in London League Division Two North East, with Graham Richards’ men currently holding a five point lead over third place Diss.

And ahead of hosting second-bottom Campion on Saturday (3pm), Sudbury captain Burton is targeting a bonus point win to maintain their grip on second spot.

“It’s good to be back and nice to be at home again,” he said. “Without being disrespectful to Campion we are looking at it as a five point game.

“We’ve got to play well though. The last few weeks we’ve been working hard in training and the boys are all keen to get going again.

“First we have to deal with Campion on Saturday and then we’ve got two more regular season games against Norwich and Rochford (Hundred).

“Both are going to be big games, they’re not easy opposition so it’s going to be a shootout in the last two games. But if we win our last three games then we’ll get to the play-offs.”

After coming up from Division Three North East as champions last season, Richards and his Sudbury side have adapted quickly to the higher level and are in with a chance of securing back-to-back promotions at the end of this season.

Saffron Walden have a firm grip on the automatic promotion place heading into the final run-in — the Essex side are eight points clear of Sudbury — and Burton admits the Suffolk side are now fighting for the sole play-off spot, which they currently occupy.

“Realistically Saffron Walden have got top spot and fair play to them,” he said. “The play-offs are in our hands and we’re capable of doing it and finishing in second place.

“The defeat away at Diss was a hard one to swallow. We’ve bounced back and won our next three games. Beating Saffron Walden was a big win and then we got away with it against Cantabs, but we’ve responded well after the Diss game and it’s put us in pole position now.”

Sudbury are without their two first choice props for this weekend’s clash against Campion, as Sam Conning and Pete Dedross are both unavailable.

Richards is even more light in the prop position with Francois Botha having returned to South Africa, while Sudbury are boosted by the return of Charles Jackson.

n Sudbury’s Will Ponty has been selected in the Welsh Crawshays Youth squad to play in the Portugal International Rugby Festival this weekend.