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Shelford face ‘season-defining’ run in next three games in London League 1N

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Lewis Cracknell got the first try for Shelford against Chingford. Picture: Mike Harris
Lewis Cracknell got the first try for Shelford against Chingford. Picture: Mike Harris

Shelford’s director of rugby Will Cotterill believes the next three games will define his team’s season.

Cotterill watched his promotion-chasing side demolish bottom club Chingford 42-7 at the weekend but knows they face three tough games starting this weekend against Eton Manor.

Lewis Cracknell scored and converted the first try after just three minutes to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.

They then comfortably ran out 42-7 winners, thanks to tries from Louie Tang, Alex Long, Ben Bates, Jack Biard and Charlie Baker, to delight Cotterill.

He said: “It was a little bit one-sided. We went down to Brentwood a couple of weeks ago and were a bit sleepy and lost the game. So we made sure that this time we were not going to get caught sleeping and the boys played really well.

“We certainly didn’t want to be complacent and sometimes we are guilty of not travelling well, especially to places where the pitches are not as nice as our 3G. So it was one thing we set our minds to.

“The defeat against Brentwood was off-script really, gave us a bit of a wake-up call and reminded us that we are not unbeatable.

“We went down there with every intention of playing as well as we can and to score as many points as we can. The guys started very well and maintained a really good playing structure the whole game. Bar a 10-minute window where they fell asleep a little they were very, very good.

“When I took over the side, they were guilty of not travelling very well and losing. It was something we highlighted and made a point of switching on when we do go away.

“We are not that team that wins at home on our nice plastic pitch then can’t win away. We are getting the job done now but must be constantly on guard when we travel.”

The clash with Eton Manor this weekend is probably the biggest of the season so far.

It is almost certain to be a tight affair with the Davey Field crowd getting behind the team.

Eton Manor lie third in the 1N table and will be looking to cement their own promotion chances.

But it is just the first in a trio of games that could decide the outcome of Shelford’s season as they currently lie second in the table.

After Eton Manor is a home game against league leaders Sudbury and then Shelford face Southend, and boss Cotterill says that series of games will be defining for the team and their season.

He said: “We are very happy with where we are. We have been playing some good rugby against tough teams.

“But we’ve got three tough weeks coming up. We have got Eton Manor on Saturday, who are just below in the league and will be tough to beat.

“Then we’ve got Sudbury and Southend and I think the next three games will be very defining.”

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