Best season ever for league and cup double-winning Stowmarket
Stowmarket Rugby Club have completed their most successful ever season, as they won a league and cup double.
The side beat Holt 34-14 on the road in Saturday’s final game of the season to secure top spot and promotion from London 3 Eastern Counties.
They will play in London 2 North East from next season. It follows Stowmarket winning the Suffolk Chadacre Cup on March 31.
First team manager Martin Barnard said the club were ‘very pleased’.
He said: “There was a bit of pressure ahead of the game, definitely nerves, because we knew we could win the league if we could beat Holt and gain the bonus point.
“At the start of the season we were hopeful of doing well, hopeful of a good run in the cup and the league, but it’s a different thing doing it.
“Our first game of the season was against Holt and beating them gave us a confidence boost for the rest of the season.
“It was a great way to finish the season, coming full circle.
“We didn’t have the easiest run in at the end of the season, playing most of the top five and that adds to it as well.
“We had to win all of our last games, and claim try scoring bonuses to stay ahead of Southwold, and we did it.
“It was a fairly messy trip home on Saturday.”
He said the club want to wish Southwold the ‘best of luck’ for their play-off match.
“The seconds still have one more game (at home to Swaffham in the Eastern Counties 1 Salver on Saturday).
“So most of the team will be there to support them,” he said. “Everyone will be in great spirits, to enjoy our most successful season ever.”
It was Stowmarket who started off the better at Holt, with flanker Bob Lancaster smashing over for the opening try, converted by full-back Dan Garrard.
Stowmarket continued to dominate play and centre Joe Lancaster was able to score out wide.
Holt struggled to contain the driving play of the visitors and Garrard scored two more tries to give Stowmarket a four-try bonus point and a half-time lead of 22-0.
Stowmarket scored a further try through centre Joe Lancaster in the second half.
Holt pushed on and a missed tackle saw their second row go over for a try under the posts, before again scoring near the posts.
Stowmarket looked to be the side struggling with 15 minutes to go as only dogged defence kept Holt at bay.
The large travelling support looked nervous as Holt continued to threaten.
But the strong Stowmarket defence held out before Man-of-the-Match James Simpson scored again to take the game away from Holt.
The team erupted in celebration at the end of the game as they enjoyed the moment of securing a league and cup double.
• Meanwhile, Thetford beat West Norfolk in their final game of the season in London 3 Eastern Counties to finish fourth in the league.