COMMENT: Rugby teams are doing Ipswich proud right now
- Credit: James Ager
What a season it is turning out to be for Ipswich’s two rugby clubs.
Humber Doucy Lane-based Ipswich look all but there in the race to win promotion to London 1 North while, over the hedge, YM are 80 minutes away from winning their first-ever Suffolk Chadacre Cup.
Ipswich are steamrollering their way to the title, complete a cosmopolitan sprinkle to their squad, and would like to emulate the likes of Bury St Edmunds, who are making a good fist of it in National 3, while YM are building for the future from further down the league structure, thanks to the long-term vision of head coach Jeff Searle and the committee members at Rushmere.
Ironically, Searle is a former Ipswich RUFC player who is now charged with creating history at the Eastern Counties 1 club when his team go up against Sudbury, at the London 3 North team’s Whittome Fields ground on March 29.
I spoke to Searle this week who was relishing the prospect of his team pitting their wits against a side that he came up against many times during his playing career and which has won no fewer than 15 Suffolk Cup titles.
“I used to be at Ipswich and it’s lovely for me to be facing Sudbury, who were one of our main rivals in the mid-Nineties and early-Noughties,” said Searle.
“It’s nice to be testing ourselves against a team in a higher league and we will be underdogs, but as long as our players hit their potential, they have the potential to lift the trophy.
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“I’m really happy for the players because we are not going to be there or thereabouts in the league at the end of the season.
“This cup run keeps them interested and makes sure they are still fighting for places.
“It keeps the momentum going and I would love it for the boys and everyone at the club if we could win.
As for Ipswich, they are eight points clear of second-placed Saffron Walden, albeit their nearest rivals have a game in hand.”
But provided coach Johnny Breedt’s team continue to win, they will most likely be lining up against the likes of Colchester and Brentwood next season.
Captain Chris Blom spoke to me earlier in the season, after his team had just demolished Lowestoft & Yarmouth 113-0 and said: “We have established a three-year plan and we finished joint-second last season. We knew that this year was our year to challenge. We have some quality players at the club and we believe in each other.
“I don’t believe we belong in this league and we have set the standard now. Why can’t we aim for a higher league? We have got lots of good young players coming through, we have a good structure and, like Bury, we are trying to create that brotherhood amongst the players.”
There is no denying that the two clubs aren’t on the best terms, I am not going to go into the reasons why, but both are doing Suffolk proud and are proving in spades that Ipswich is big enough for the both of them.
Let’s hope we are celebrating an Ipswich league and cup double come the end of the season.