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Shelford prepare for next stage of promotion challenge as Southend visit in London League 1N

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Mike Gillick in action for Shelford against Eton Manor. Picture: Mike Harris (52937099)
Mike Gillick in action for Shelford against Eton Manor. Picture: Mike Harris (52937099)

Shelford will be aiming to inflict another defeat on a fellow promotion contender when Southend visit the Davey Field in London League 1N this Saturday (March 12).

Will Cotterill’s team had been without a game for a couple of weeks because of a gap in the fixture calendar and Chingford cancelling, so they were a bit rusty in heading to fourth-placed Eton Manor.

However, tries from Miles Huppatz and Mike Gillick, both converted by Lewis Cracknell, clinched a 14-6 win, with stubborn defending restricting Eton Manor to two penalties.

“In the first half, we tried to over play it a little bit,” said Shelford director of rugby Cotterill.

“We were missing tempo and didn’t have the attacking structure that we would have liked to have had, but coming off a couple of weeks off and a couple of fairly heavy wins, it was always going to be a challenge against Eton Manor who were a good side.

“They were defensively good, but if we’d been a bit sharper we probably would have got the bonus-point win. I was pleased to get the win because I knew it was going to be tough, and at one stage early on in the second half I thought this game was going to slip away from us because they really took hold of momentum.”

Current fourth-placed Southend are the visitors this weekend and then, after a week off, a trip to second-placed Sudbury.

“We earmarked March as the month that really matters in the sense that if we do well then we’re looking like a definite for promotion and keep ourselves very much in the fight for the top-of-the-table spot with Sudbury,” said Cotterill.

“Southend, I believe, have done some reasonably heavy recruitment over the last few weeks and have got themselves very much in the promotion mix now.

“They are sitting fourth, so it’s very much Eton Manor, Harpenden, Southend and Colchester trying to grab that third spot.

“I’m expecting Southend to be a very tough game. They beat Sudbury a couple of weeks ago which was a bit out of the blue, at Sudbury as well.”

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