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Hadleigh boss Adam Miles challenges his side to go unbeaten this season in Eastern Counties 1 South

Following an unexpected perfect start to the first half of phase one of the season, Hadleigh Rugby Club’s Adam Miles has challenged his side to complete the campaign unbeaten.

The Layham Road outfit have opened up a 14-point gap to third place in Eastern Counties League Greene King 1 South, with the top two qualifying for a mini league with promotion available, after eight victories from their eight matches.

Saturday saw the side record their biggest win, 136-0 at home to bottom side Harwich & Dovercourt II with the referee stopping the match just after the hour mark to avoid the visitors any further embarrassment, with head coach Miles admitting he has had to re-adjust their targets.

Adam Miles - Hadleigh Rugby Club head coach (5261336)
Adam Miles - Hadleigh Rugby Club head coach (5261336)

“The top four was the target as we have got Colchester, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Ipswich and you never know how strong they will be on their day,” he said.

“I have had to reassess the target, and without sounding big-headed, I want us to go undefeated this season.

“And then in the second phase, where we play south and west (top twos) I believe we are good enough to get promoted to London 3 Eastern Counties. But we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it as that is a long way off. I cannot see us not finishing first or second.”

Miles said he was a fan of the new split season structure introduced across the Eastern Counties League for the first time last season.

It sees the sides play each other twice in the regionalised divisions before they then split off in corresponding twos to play teams who finished in the same areas of their tables with promotion and relegation then decided on these results.

“It gives you more games to play, which is a good thing, and it gives you something else to play for at the end of the season; regardless of where you finish the first phase.”

Asked if he could have envisaged the start his side have made to the campaign back in the summer, he said: “Not at the beginning of the season, no.

“I was struggling to get 15 players in pre-season.

“We have got a bit of a bonus going if the players can bring players with them. And not having a second team any more has helped a little.”

The club’s second XV have withdrawn from the league below, Division 2 South, but Miles said they will be looking to fulfil some friendly fixtures to allow them to keep their status in the league for if they can re-enter.

“All the second team have stepped up to the first team and want to train and play, so our average age is now around 23-24,” he said.

“Two times a week we are getting 25 players now.

“I have been at the club for 25 years and never seen the club buzzing like this before, maybe in the early days of Terry Sands.”

There is no fixture this weekend with Hadleigh resuming at Halstead Templars.

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