Martin Barnard believes Stowmarket Rugby Club’s home Suffolk Chadacre Cup semi-final against Woodbridge tomorrow (2pm) will be decided in the forwards, writes Russell Claydon.
London Three Eastern Counties leaders Stowmarket must bounce back from their first defeat of the season if they are to stay on course for a league and cup double though.
Their perch at the summit is only maintained courtesy of a better win ratio after a late try on the coast saw second-place Southwold go level on points after their 30-27 victory over Stow.
But attention switches to the cup this weekend with Woodbridge, currently sixth in the same division, visiting in what will be a repeat of the competition’s final, as well as the venue, two years ago.
Stowmarket will be looking to avenge that loss and would have home advantage in the final again as they look to recreate their so far only success in the Suffolk Cup, which came three years ago.
Head coach Barnard said: “It is a big game for us, although our concentration is on the league.
“We expect Woodbridge to come very strong on Saturday as it is really their main focus now.
“They are a very well coached side and I expect them to come through the forwards, as they usually do.
“I expect it will be decided through the forwards and we will need to win that to get the ball out to our backs.”
The Southwold defeat was costly in two respects with back row Scott Fitzpatrick having his season ended early after breaking his jaw.
The last contest between Stow and Woodbridge ended 26-5, at Chilton Fields Sports Club, on December 16. In the event of a draw, extra-time would be played.