Ipswich face tough test against friendly rivals

IMPROVING Ipswich face third placed Chelmsford in a stand-out rugby match this weekend with the two sides sharing a friendly and historic rivalry.

Currently mid-table, fortunes have very much improved at Humber Doucy Lane of late with Ipswich winning three on the spin and Chelmsford will go into the London 2 match expecting a stern test.

Elsewhere in the league, Sudbury are at Beccles in a bottom of the table clash with the west Suffolk visitors not winning since October 9. The young Sudbury team, who narrowly lost out to Saffron Walden last time out, will look for a win to restore confidence and start moving away from the danger zone.

Highly-fancied at the top of London 3, Newmarket must show their pedigree in an away match against Lowestoft & Yarmouth, currently in third.

Wymondham, anchored at the bottom, host Mersea Island who themselves have gone seven games without tasting victory.

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There are four games in Eastern Counties 1 involving local sides. Thurston will not be looking forward to their trip to league leaders Stowmarket with the home side boasting an attack that is running riot - as an average of 60 points a match testifies. Throw in a solid defence conceding only seven points and a shock win for Thurston is unlikely.

A much closer match-up is anticipated when Southwold travel to Ely, both sides currently occupying positions in mid-table. In a solid first season in this league, Harwich & Dovercourt will be looking to make further progress when they travel to Woodbridge in what should be a finely-balanced game that is too difficult to predict.

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Elsewhere, Haverhill & District, who now sit bottom after being docked five points for failing to fulfil a fixture, are at home to Crusaders at their School Lane Ground.

In Eastern Counties 2, Ipswich YM’s quest for promotion shows no signs of stopping and they will go into their match at Felixstowe looking to increase their seven-point lead at the top. Mistley, motoring along nicely in third, host Hadleigh.

At the other end of the scale, Diss have shown signs of improvement in National League 3 with creditable performances against Bracknell and Tring.

In their bid to claw towards safety, the second-bottom side travel to mid-table Havant in what will be a testing encounter.

The situation is much brighter for Colchester in London 1, cruising along in second place and averaging 45 points per home match. They will be looking to maintain their lofty status, and keep their Mile End Road Ground a fortress, when Sidcup visit.

Bury St Edmunds, like others, could be a little rusty after the enforced break but they will be hoping to continue recent good form in their away match at Stevenage Town.

After last weekend’s fixtures were a literal whitewash - just Sudbury’s Great Cornard ground beating the big freeze - clubs will be hoping for better luck, and more rugby, this time around.

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