Stow seek winning surge as promotion-chasers clash

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STOWMARKET will be looking to maintain their push for the top when they host fellow promotion-chasers Wanstead tomorrow (2.30pm).

The Chilton Fields-based outfit currently lie fourth in London Three North East, one point and one place above tomorrow’s opponents.

And after an enforced winter break, both sides will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to 2012.

Stowmarket chairman John Phoenix said: “It was a bit of a shame to have a break, but hopefully it would have allowed for people to mend their niggles.

“Things have been going all right for us.

“We have got one or two players back and results have gone for us.”

Stow are just five points behind second-placed Harlow, which happens to be the same number of points the Suffolk side were deducted for fielding an ineligible player in November.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) ruling was considered controversial as the player in question has been with the club since the age of eight and is a registered junior player at Stow.

And Stowmarket will be looking to go some way towards making up for that when Wanstead visit tomorrow, although Phoenix concedes it will be a difficult game, with the result of the reverse fixture ending 29-27 in favour of the north-east London outfit in October.

“It’s going to be tricky I would suggest,” said Phoenix. “We had a very close game down there that we just lost but probably should have won — tomorrow’s match won’t be easy, that’s for sure.”

Bury St Edmunds will have to make do without captain Martin Webdale as they make a tough trip to sixth-placed Eton Manor in London One North tomorrow (2.30pm).

Manor are nine points behind fourth-placed Bury, who in turn still have hopes of snatching second place and therefore a place in the promotion play-off with the runners-up from London One South.

“Although I have not been there myself, I’m told Eton Manor is a very difficult place to go to,” said coach Gavin Hogg.

“We realise they are unbeaten in 2012, so it’s not an ideal one to go into after two weeks off.

“But if we put in the level of performance we have, we can hopefully come away with a victory.”

Meanwhile, in Greene King IPA Eastern Counties League Division Two, the title-chasing pair of Thurston and Thetford host the bottom two sides in the division tomorrow (both 2.30pm).

Both sides are just a point behind leaders Hadleigh, although Thetford have a game in hand.

Second-placed Thurston host second-bottom Mildenhall Eagles, while third-placed Thetford are up against winless Sawston.