Ben Scully has issued a rallying cry ahead of a crucial run of fixtures for Sudbury RUFC against three sides also battling to avoid relegation.
Bottom-of-the-table Sudbury will take on the three teams directly above them in the London League Division One North table over the next three weeks, starting with the visit of Old Priorians to Whittome Field this Saturday (3pm).
And head coach Scully is under no illusion as to how important the upcoming games will be for his side, as they look to climb away from the basement and steer clear of the drop zone come the end of the season.
“We’re not hiding from the fact of how important these next three games are,” said Scully, who has recently finished a one-year coaching internship with the England national team, where he worked alongside head coach Eddie Jones.
“They are three must-win games. We’re sort of in a separate mini-league now with the three or four teams just above us in the table.
“They are three crucial games for us. Everyone will be looking to pick up points and for us it is crucially important we do that in these next three games.”
Since taking over as head coach from Graham Richards in the summer, Scully has found wins hard to come by in his first campaign in charge at Whittome Field.
Sudbury looked to have turned the corner when they followed up a 29-29 draw with high-flying Chingford by defeating Fullerians 42-19 two outings later in November.
But a run of one draw and four defeats from their next five fixtures has left Scully’s charges 10 points adrift of the safety line.
“It was a shame the Christmas break came when it did,” said the Sudbury chief.
“We drew against Thurrock and then we were in with a chance of getting a result at North Walsham.
“Although against Walsham it was a loss, for the boys it felt like a win.”
Before a crunch clash away at second bottom Barking on January 21, Sudbury face consecutive home games against Priorians (11th) and Chelmsford (12th), with Scully hoping to make the most of playing on home turf against their relegation rivals.
“We felt like we let ourselves down last time round against Priorians (17-3 defeat on September 17),” Scully said.
“We’ve got a run of a couple of games now where we’re at home. It’s the first time we’ve had back-to-back home games all season.
“If we can pick up a win on Saturday, it puts us in a great position going into next week, when we’ll be at home again.”