Sudbury’s title-winning players travel to Stowmarket on Saturday to defend the Suffolk Cup the club won last year, and director of rugby Graham Richards will be looking for a cup and league double.
Immediately after Saturday’s final London League Division Three North East game Richards told his players to make themselves available for the cup final.
“We have to go to Stowmarket to give the cup the respect it deserves. We’re not going to be in the competition next year, so we’ve got to go and win it,” he said.
But Richards admitted thoughts of the cup final were far from the players’ minds after the hard-earned 28-22 victory over West Norfolk which ended the visitors’ slim hopes of joining Sudbury in Division Two North East next season.
Cantabrigians beat Lowestoft and Yarmouth 68-8 in their final game to finish runners-up, West Norfolk taking third place.
“The two best rugby playing teams in the league went head-to-head today,” said Richards, “and anybody who came to watch was thoroughly entertained. It was cracking game of rugby.
“Two teams spiritedly throwing the ball about, and from our perspective we scored some cracking tries.”
He was delighted that the team bounced back from their solitary defeat of the season, 57-24 at Lowestoft two weeks earlier, which came a week after Sudbury had clinched the title and promotion.
“The defeat at Lowestoft was probably the best thing that could have happened to us. It gave us a good wake-up call and I think we responded fantastically,” he said.
“The players deserve credit for bouncing back. They have had a long hard season and deserve every accolade. That today, in the sunshine, was fantastic, and we got our ton up today, 100 points for the season, which was always a quiet goal.
“We were worth the win. They scored every chance they created, we made a lot of territory, but they defended superbly at times. We managed, this week, something we have been working on quite hard in training, playing with a bit of patience as opposed to just willy nilly throwing the ball to the wing, and the way that we crafted our wide play today was really good,” said Richards.
While praising the team, Richards singled out three players. “Frazer Beckett’s huge strength is that he can pass the ball a long distance, which makes a vast difference.
“Matt Johnston was up against the best player on the pitch, their 13 (Lewys Weaver) today, but he held the ball well and passed brilliantly at times, and Henry Cowling came on and was absolutely outstanding for a 17-year-old kid in a fiercely competitive game,” he said.
“Now we’ll enjoy tonight, get back into training on Tuesday and Thursday, and go to Stowmarket on Saturday. We’ve looked at the weather forecast and it will be similar to today, but a bit less windy. Hopefully we’ll have a nice day there and end the season in style.”