Templars romp to maiden title
Ed Merry admitted there could not have been a sweeter way for Halstead Templars to rubber stamp their first ever league title than by carrying out a home demolition job on their nearest challengers.
The Knights, spurred on by their recent Suffolk Chadacre Cup semi-final thrashing by Mersea Island — just as backs coach Merry had promised they would be, romped to a 74-0 whitewash over Colchester IV at the Courtald Sports Ground to seal the Greene King Eastern Counties Division Two South title with two games to play.
“To be at home in front of our support against the team in second place who could have won the league still, and to put that sort of score on any team is very pleasing,” said player-coach Merry, who scored two of the 11 unanswered tries himself.
“They are not a poor side but they just ran out of ideas and could not cope with what we were throwing at them.
“There was certainly talk beforehand in training and in the pre-match warm-up that if we were making a tackle or trying to run through a gap we should imagine it was against Mersea Island — and it really did help.”
The day provided the icing on the cake for the club’s most successful ever season since current head coach Neil Prentice and friend Barry Poulter formed the club back in 2010, completing a league and cup double, having already lifted the Suffolk Plate back in November.
And Merry believes it was the strong team ethic which ultimately turned them from bridesmaids to the bride this season, having recorded their highest ever finish of third the previous campaign.
“To go from being always competitive but never the team who posed anything more than an annoyance or threat to the top teams to going on to win two titles just shows how we have stuck together as a team,” he said.
“We have had a couple of additions — who have been attracted by the team spirit we have — but the majority were already with us and it is just down to the consistency of the group.”
Merry revealed the club will be looking to form a second team, with the aim to start by just playing social matches, next season as they prepare to take the step up to the traditional top tier of the Eastern Counties League.
Saturday sees a rearranged game at Felixstowe (3pm) before ending the campaign with a trip to Hadleigh.