habeRden deal secures future

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BURY St Edmunds Rugby Club has secured its long-term future by completing a deal to buy The Haberden Sports Ground for £35,000.

The club has been in talks with St Edmundsbury Council about the purchase of The Haberden, which sits on an old landfill site, for several weeks, but the deal has now been finalised.

Phil Torkington, chairman of Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club, confirmed to the Bury Free Press: “The deal has gone through and everything has been exchanged, so The Haberden Sports Ground now belongs to Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club.

“It’s one of the most important things in the club’s history. We now own our own ground and it secures it forever as our rugby club.

“It won’t be going to any development – it’s there for it to remain as a sports ground.”

After members of the club loaned money to pay the council £35,000 for the site – which is home to several mini-rugby pitches, three senior pitches, Bury RFC’s clubhouse and gym, and an artificial surface for training and six-a-side football – the club has launched a ‘buy a brick scheme’ so it can pay off those loans.

More than 50 bricks have been sold for a special clubhouse wall that will be adorned with names and messages on bricks – which cost £100 each.

To support the club’s purchase of The Haberden by buying a brick, collect a form from the club or log on to www.bserufc.co.uk

On the pitch, Bury will be looking to build on Saturday’s 79-3 demolition of Woodford when they travel to Chingford (3pm) tomorrow for the first of a double-header.

The two sides clash again on March 26, when The Haberden stages the reverse fixture, and victory in both matches could double the 10-point lead Bury hold over the Essex side in the London One North table.

Mathematically, Bury still have a chance of snatching second place in the table to reach the promotion play-off, but with just a maximum of 25 points left to play for, it looks increasingly unlikely the Suffolk side will overcome the 12-point gap to Sidcup.

However, Mike Robinson, chairman of the playing committee, still harbours hopes Bury can leapfrog rivals Colchester into third – a finish that would represent the club’s highest league position in their history.

Robinson said: “We still hope to get that play-off place, but we need Sidcup to slip up and as the weeks go by that becomes increasingly less likely.”

Fijian centre Peceli Nacamavuto (Naka) may miss out because he is due to play for the army tonight.