Sudbury RFC head coach Ben Scully remains hopeful of beating the drop, despite their defeat to Brentwood on Saturday, confirming they will finish in the bottom three of London One North, writes Ken Watkins.
Saturday’s 41-17 defeat at the hands of promotion-chasing Brentwood means Sudbury can finish no higher than 12th this season.
But with the relegation picture not clear because of changes higher up the rugby pyramid, Scully is not giving up on his side’s chances of avoiding the drop this season.
With four games of the season left to go, Sudbury (13th) are five points clear of bottom club Barking, and five points behind Chelmsford in 12th spot.
“Our target now is to overtake Chelmsford,” said Scully. “If we can do that, we may survive in this division.”
Last season three teams were relegated, but with London Welsh having dropped out of the Championship, plus major restructuring at London Three level, it is still uncertain whether two or three teams will face the drop this season.
But, whatever happens, Scully is building for next season at Whittome Field.
“Whether we stay here or whether we go down and have to rebuild from there, by this time next year we will be 10 times the team we are now,” he said.
The club have recruited prop Alex Mitchell from Colchester, who came on in the second half of Saturday’s 41-17 defeat.
“He’s one for the future,” said Scully. “He’s challenging people in training in the right way.
“He brings new energy to the squad, and once we find how he fits in the team I think he will go well for us.”
Scully had no complaints about the performance at the weekend against a Brentwood side challenging at the other end of the table.
“We didn’t let them run away with the game, but we conceded soft tries,” he said.
“We are building and I’ve said it would take time, but if we can put in performances like that it’s only a matter of time before it starts clicking.
“Brentwood are where they are because they’ve got big fellows who can get over the gain line and that’s what rugby’s all about.
“I thought we defended well, but when you are defending for a long time against a team that big, eventually you’ll concede.”
Club captain Shaun Smith may not figure in the final four games after suffering ankle ligament damage in the match against Fullerians on March 4.
“It’s not as bad as we first feared,” said Scully. “He’s seeing the physio, making progress and is eager to get back, but we won’t bring him back too soon.”
Frazer Beckett picked up the first yellow card of his career in the second half on Saturday, after not releasing a grounded opponent after a tackle.
Scully’s charges return to action a week on Saturday (March 25) with a trip to Eton Manor (fifth), before hosting Letchworth Garden City (ninth) on April 1.