We want promotion, says Sudbury coach, ahead of Cantabs clash

Tom Summers

Tom Summers - Credit: Archant

Today’s clash between Sudbury and Cantabrigian is the biggest game to be held at Whittome Fields for many years, according to the Suffolk side’s coach, Graham Richards.

Sudbury lead the London 3 North table by nine points from second-placed Cantabrigian, who do have a game in hand on Richards’ team

Last season’s Chadacre Cup winners have an unblemished record this term, with eight wins from eight, while their opponents have lost just once this season, away at Harlow.

Promotion is the aim for former National 3 outfit Sudbury, who finished fourth in the division last season, a place below Cantabrigian, another club with aspirations to move up a level. There is a lot riding on the game.

“It’s the biggest game at the club for a few years, with us being undefeated and Cantabs (Cantabrigian) having lost just once,” said Richards, a former assistant coach with Premiership giants Harlequins.

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“They finished third last season and us fourth and there is an ambitious rivalry between the teams. Cantabs have just missed out on promotion the last few years, and we are both up there challenging this season.”

Sudbury have accrued some big victories this season, most notably at home to Billericay, who were brushed aside 91-0, and have conceded just 97 points all season.

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“I would put our success this season down to hard work, commitment, all the clichés,” added Richards.

“We have also been consistent in terms of team selection and performance because, in this league, for whatever reason, teams don’t tend to travel well.”

Richards also has a youthful exuberance in his side, which includes 21-year-old skipper, Tom Summers.

“When I came to the club three years ago, the average age of the squad was 20, and now it’s 22. Experience and maturity is a big thing,” he said.

“There is also the physical aspect too. It does not matter how good a rugby player you are, if you can’t deal with the physicality, then you are going to struggle.

“Cantabs are a big, physical side, but we have improved and held our own in this division.

“Last Saturday (win at Wanstead) was a big test, but this will be the biggest.”

Whatever the outcome of today’s game, it won’t alter Sudbury’s promotion ambitions, although success will be measured in a variety of ways in the coming seasons, whatever the result on the pitch.

“We want to get success from within and to be quietly optimistic with regards the future,” explained the former director of rugby at Ipswich’s St Joseph’s College.

“We want to set high goals but not ones with huge financial implications.

“I am relatively experienced in this field and we don’t pay our players.

“Ultimately, our ambition is for players who have gone away to play for other sides, but still live in Sudbury, to think, ‘I want to go back and help my home club’.

“There is an opportunity to play at a higher level, where that will be I don’t know, but it would be wrong to say we are not looking at promotion.”

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