East Bergholt remain SIL favourites

DESPITE losing their last two matches, East Bergholt remain favourites to win the Senior Division championship of the Metaltec SIL.Five teams still have a chance of lifting the trophy as the season reaches a pulsating climax.

By Elvin King

DESPITE losing their last two matches, East Bergholt remain favour-ites to win the Senior Division championship of the Metaltec SIL.

Five teams still have a chance of lifting the trophy as the season reaches a pulsating climax.

With two Saturdays to go the top seven teams are separated by just five points - with Achilles, Ransomes Sports, Crane Sports and Haughley United joining Bergholt as potential champions.

If Tony Hall's Bergholt do end on top they will become the first side for a century to win the league three times in a row.

Several clubs have won consecutive titles, but only Leiston (1901/02/03) and Orwell Works (1905/06/07) have pulled off a hat-trick.

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Achilles manager Alan Middle is upset that this season's champions may have been decided by an off-field decision.

Middle feels aggrieved that the village club were allowed to 'replay' their game with Felixstowe United when they were losing 2-1 with 72 seconds left.

A Bergholt player was badly injured and the game abandoned as the light had failed by the time the pitch was cleared.

The league ordered a 'replay' that Bergholt won. “It is looking as though those extra three points will prove crucial,” said Middle.

“If Bergholt beat Melton St Audry's tomorrow and Haugh-ley the following week, they will be champions.

“As such they must be favourites, but they have been slipping up recently and have two tough matches.”

Achilles have no game tomorrow, so Middle will watch his side's Omnico Cup final opponents Ransomes play Westerfield before moving on to see the end of the Bergholt match.

“Whatever happens it will be next week before anything is confirmed,” added Middle, who might have an ace up his sleeve.

“Haughley played an ineligible player in their match against us in a game that ended 1-1.

“If we finish one or two points behind the leaders, the league has said that the match will be 'replayed'.

“Whatever happens over the next eight days there will be plenty of nail-biting and the side that holds its nerve could well end up with the trophy.”

Achilles have recruited Kevin Sharman to their management team for next season. He will join Middle and Trevor Childs, the latter looking to concentrate on playing and coaching in 2006/07.

“Trevor has done a brilliant job and will still be involved,” said Middle. “Kevin has experience with Crane Sports and Whitton and I am sure he will be a wise capture.”

Melton St Audry's have been deducted six points for fielding James Bradbrook in their 3-0 win over Felixstowe United on April 1.

Bradbrook is also registered with Woodbridge Town and no player who is registered outside the SIL can play from April 1 if they have not played ten games in the SIL.

Tonight sees the final of the Harpers Intersport Cup with Coplestonians A meeting Somer-sham Reserves at Framlingham (kick-off 7.30pm).

Jerry Thorpe, Coplestonians first-team manager who has led his side to the championship of the First Division, is in the club's third team squad tonight.

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