Cup rout will spur on Templars to secure first ever league title

DOUBLING UP: Halstead Templars' Matt Harwood and Brett Ballard try to halt Mersea Island's progress (Picture: Roger Cuthbert)
DOUBLING UP: Halstead Templars' Matt Harwood and Brett Ballard try to halt Mersea Island's progress (Picture: Roger Cuthbert)

SUFFOLK CHADACRE CUP

SEMI-FINAL

Halstead Templars 6

Mersea Island 66

Ed Merry believes Halstead’s nine-try Suffolk Chadacre Cup semi-final thrashing at the hands of higher-league Mersea Island has given them added motivation to bounce back by sewing up the club’s first league title this weekend.

A win at sixth-placed Felixstowe on Saturday (3pm) would guarantee topping Eastern Counties Greene King Division Two South and ear promotion to Division One next season.

Having failed to cross the whitewash themselves in what was the biggest game in their history on Saturday, having started out in the plate undercard of the county competition, backs playing coach Merry hopes they can quickly put the day behind them by kicking off some promotion celebrations.

“Fingers crossed the weather holds out for us,” he said. “I know I am itching to get back out there to right the wrongs and I am sure some of the lads must be even more so.

“We are desperate to show it was a one-off blip in where we are and that we deserve to be there.”

On Saturday the Red Knights were first on the scoresheet in both halves with penalties, first from Sam Edwards, and then from Brett Ballard.

However, despite determined defence the Islanders found their way through the home backline three times in the first half and with penalties on the 20 and 40-minute mark they led at half-time 27-3.

The Templars came out fighting in the second half and once more held their opponents at bay for the first 20 minutes before two tries in quick succession sealed the game for the visitors. Leading 44-6 the game was over, but Mersea turned the win into a rout with three tries in the last three minutes.

“It was disappointing and I think the guys deserved better for all the hard work they put in,” said Merry, who was pleased to see local MP James Cleverly at The Pit to support them.

“We just had nothing left in the tank to give at the end and to concede three tries in three minutes took the score from 40-odd to 66.”

Despite the disappointment from the defeat, Merry said they can reflect on a great cup campaign which far surpassed their expectations.

“We knew getting to the final of the Plate was a very obtainable goal and that was our real goal. Everything else was a bonus and we thoroughly enjoyed playing teams a level above.”

There was something to be cheerful about at the club on Saturday though as vice-captain and influential lock Ivan Fellowes made his first start for the England Deaf team in their 27-11 win over Wales to lift the Broadstreet Cup at IIkley.

Sudbury (2nd) return to action after a weekend off at eighth-placed Cantabrigian on Saturday (3pm) looking to notch their seventh straight win in London League Two North East and take another step to sealing a play-off place.