Achilles celebrate title joy and are back for more next season

Achilles celebrate their Suffolk & Ipswich League championship success. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Achilles celebrate their Suffolk & Ipswich League championship success. Photo: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Achilles boss Luke Hillyard has paid tribute to his side after the Ipswich-based team celebrated their Suffolk & Ipswich League championship.

The Salmet Close club withstood a host of challenges throughout the season in a title race that was exciting throughout.

However, Achilles were always seen as the favourites and they sealed the deal with a big win at Bramford last month to win Hillyard his first-ever SIL title and Achilles’ first championship since 2013/14.

“We’ve done well in the end,” Hillyard said.

“It was a really open title race up to Christmas. There were plenty of teams in the hunt.

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“We had a poor November, losing a couple of games and it was an open race.

“Everyone kept saying we were still the favourites and we kept our nerve well. We kept playing it down. We ended the season winning 15 on the trot. That’s some effort and I can’t applaud the team enough.”

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Hillyard is only 32 and has had to give up the game he loves because of injury.

But he’s turned his hand to management well – and rather ominously for the rest of the SIL has confirmed almost his whole squad has re-signed for next season.

“It’s no secret we have a really good group of lads,” Hillyard said.

“They work together well as a group, play for each other and there are no bad eggs. We have a good thing going and it would be nice to keep it that way.”

Achilles also reached the semi-finals of the Suffolk Senior Cup, where they narrowly went down to Thurlow Nunn Division One champions, Woodbridge. They showed they have the pedigree on the pitch to play up a level, but the club can’t move up the pyramid as their ground doesn’t have floodlights.

“We’ve spoken about it (moving up to Step 6). But if you don’t have floodlights there’s nothing you can do,” Hillyard said.

“I think we would do okay if we ever did move up the pyramid. But at the moment that’s not going to happen.”

Cranes ended the season as runners-up to Achilles, Iain Radnor’s side doing well after an awful start to the season where they gained only one point from their first four games. Ransomes Sports and Haughley have been relegated from the Senior Division.

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