Survival still on, but club prepared for relegation

REALIST: Graham Richards
REALIST: Graham Richards

Sudbury RFC coach Graham Richards believes the club are capable of avoiding the drop, but conceded relegation would not be a disaster.

The club kept the great escape well and truly on track with a vital 73-24 victory over Harlow on Saturday, leaving them just two points adrift of Wisbech and safety in their quest to avoid relegation from London Three North East.

However, despite believing survival is achievable, Richards is aware with only two games remaining, including Saturday’s trip to promotion-chasing South Woodham Ferrers (3pm), relegation is a distinct possibility.

“It is great for the club to still stand a chance of survival, but we know we still have a tough couple of games ahead of us,” he said. “We just haven’t had any consistency, particularly away from home, and we’ve lost three or four games by less than a single score, which is disappointing.

“However, if we get relegated, then we will build on what we have got, try to create a winning mentality and get this club back through the leagues.

“Obviously I don’t want it to happen, but if it does than we have to deal with it.

“It wouldn’t be a disaster, we are very young side and we have shown that with a little bit of structure we can compete strongly.”

A deciding factor in Sudbury’s bid to beat the drop could be the continual availability of wingers Austin Beckett and George Wacokecoke.

England Under-17’s Wacokecoke paired up with Northampton Saints Academy and St Joesph’s College’s teammate Beckett to devastating effect on Saturday helping the club on their way to a first victory in five.

Richards has tipped the pair for the very top but is well aware the opportunity to include the devastating duo on Saturday may be out of his hands at second placed South Woodham Ferrers.

“The is the reality is we will probably have a number of changes on Saturday but who knows, if I am able to select the same side as against Harlow then I will be very confident of victory but that may be out of my hands,” he added.

“Having that bit of pace and quality on the wing made a hell of a lot of difference and Austin and George are destined for much greater things.

“I coached George at St Josephs from an early age and stayed in very good contact with his family.

“He is part of my bigger project in my life to try and get him where he has the ability to go which is the very top, he is a special talent.

“Austin is another one of those players who has a bright future ahead of him. I haven’t worked with him for quite so long but he is another brilliant talent.

“Pace is a big part of our game plan and without that, we could struggle badly, it makes a huge difference.”

n Meanwhile, Sudbury player Mark Bolton took charge of the Eastern Counties side as they progressed to the RFU National Under-20s Shield semi-final with a 55-12 quarter-final success over Surrey.

Taking place at Sudbury’s Whittome Field ground, the team which also included Tom Summers, recovered from going behind early on to run in nine tries and secure their progression to the next round.

They will now face Cambridge University, who overcame Middlesex in their quarter-final tie.