Still plenty of top local rugby to go and watch
24 April 2015
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The league season may be over for most but this Saturday there are a number of play-offs around the area and spread about so everyone should be able to go and lend their support.
The biggest game in terms of league position is at Diss RFC where they take on Chiswick for a place in London One North. Since my old friend Roger Coombs took over as coach the club’s fortunes have certainly improved on the field and injuries permitting I would tip them to win it with their traditionally vocal home support.
Rugby supporters in the south of Cambridgeshire might consider going down the M11 to Epping Upper Clapton to cheer on Ely who are battling it out to join London 3NE. There is added interest in this game as an Ely win would possibly create an extra opportunity for the losers of the Eastern Counties 2 play-off games; read Promotion in Eastern Counties not so cut and dried to find out why.
Shelford have their final game in National 2 South at home to Lydney but an alternative for those in Cambridgeshire would be travel to Swaffham where they play Cantabrigian II in one of the Eastern Counties 2 play-offs. This is a lifeline for the Norfolk club who have this chance to remain in Eastern Counties 1, but the pressure is also on Cantabs II as a loss would mean that their 3rd XV could not be promoted from Eastern Counties 3W, despite finishing runners up, due to the rule prohibiting two teams from the same club competing in the same league.
The pressure will be even greater for Colchester II as they play Diss II at home in the other Eastern Counties II play-off. The club has had an extraordinarily successful season with each of their four teams winning their leagues. However, a loss to Diss II would have the knock-on effect of blocking promotion for Colchester III and Colchester IV for the same reasons as Cantabs III above.
Colchester should start as favouries not just because of their league record, but because there is bound to be a large, noisy and partisan crowd at Mill Road wanting to replicate the incredible atmosphere at Eton Manor last week when the 1st XV secured the league title, With nearly every Diss supporter likely to be at Mackenders for the game against Chiswick the second team squad will have to dig deep into their character to shut out the support for Colchester.
This is pretty much the last chance to watch any local 15-a-sde adult rugby before the summer break so make the most of it and get to one of the games.
A plea to the communications people at each of the clubs; please post regular updates on Twitter as I will be one of a surprisingly high number of people that will be following progress over the internet (an Eastern Counties planning weekend will keep me away from the touchline on Saturday). For Twitter updates tomorrow, follow: