Culford partnership to give Sudbury new pool of players

BACK IN BLUE: Mark Bolton is back playing at Whittome Field ' and is set to bring talented rugby scholars with him
BACK IN BLUE: Mark Bolton is back playing at Whittome Field ' and is set to bring talented rugby scholars with him
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A link-up with Culford school, led by ex-Sudbury rugby coach Mark Bolton, looks set to bring a new conveyor belt of talent to the Blues.

The new partnership began at Whittome Field on Saturday, with instant results, as a large crowd saw their team run in 11 tries against bottom side Canvey Island in their last league match before Christmas.

Three of those came from Culford scholar Toby White on his debut in the 65-15 win, which came ahead of a derby Suffolk RFU Suffolk Cup quarter-final tie at home to Hadleigh on Saturday (3pm).

Thirty-six-year-old ex-rugby league professional Bolton, came out of retirement to begin a fresh spell at Sudbury, which also looks set to have the added benefit of opening up a new talented player pool.

Last year’s Eastern Counties coach is now teaching rugby scholars — which their website say only accepts players of regional or county level or above — at the independent school near Bury St Edmunds.

Sudbury’s head coach Graham Richards said: “Mark has been successful in his job and I just think he felt Culford only play rugby up to Christmas and he still has something to offer.

“He has a couple of kids he wants to attract into the senior game , who he is coaching day-in-day-out and he is wanting to play rugby with them before they go.”

Richards — who was critical of Saturday’s performance in terms of taking chances, despite being pleased with the result — added: “In the New Year we could be having one or two more of his youngsters, alongside his experience.”

Richards revealed Bolton has held talks confirming his commitment for his injury-plagued side for the whole of January and March.

Despite Eastern Counties Division Two side Hadleigh playing two levels below third-placed Sudbury, Richards will be putting out his strongest available side in a bid to set up a semi-final and a chance of some silverware.

“We are taking it very seriously,” he said. “Being second they will come with their tails up and while I’m not quite sure of our selection yet, it will be as strong as we can pick.”

New boy White (holiday) and winger Shaun Smith (hamstring) are definitely out along with injury victims: James Barrie, Chris Whybrow, Sam Cunning and Jordan Brown.

n Sudbury Under-11s will provide a guard of honour for Saturday’s game, with a Christmas Carol concert to follow after.