London North-East Division Three West Norfolk ready for a new challenge at higher level

West Norfolk Rugby Club's Monty Maule on the attack.

West Norfolk Rugby Club's Monty Maule on the attack. - Credit: Archant

West Norfolk have their first opportunity to prove they belong in London North-East Division Three when they get their season underway tomorrow.

The North Wootton outfit returned to London NE3 for the first time since 2009 after clinching the Greene King Eastern Counties Division One title last term. And ahead of their big curtain-raiser at home to Sudbury, boss Nigel Richardson insists the club is finally back at the level it should be.

West's boss said: 'We're a big club, as everyone knows. We've got a big structure and squad. The clubhouse facilities are up there with some of the best.

'We feel as a club that this (NE3) is where we deserve to be really. The lads have been working pretty hard, fitness wise, this summer. They've been keen to carry on the momentum.

'We haven't had any player loss really either because the travelling times are pretty much the same as what they were before (in EC One), although in a different direction.'

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One player who West will be without is Brad Cook. He has 'deservedly' joined higher-level Bury St Edmunds, according to his former manager.

Sudbury finished fourth in 2013/14 and Richardson expects them to provide a difficult challenge on a pitch where the EC One champions reigned supreme during what was a memorable campaign.

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'They'll be a tough test. I don't think there'll be any games in this league that won't be,' said the Gatehouse Lane chief, who didn't see his troops lose a single home league game on their way to securing promotion.

'We know where they finished last season. We don't know what's gone on in the summer with them. We know they've been doing pre-season, we know they'll be pushing towards the top of the table this season. I'd say we're a fortress at Gatehouse Lane, home form is definitely important, but it's no good winning all the games at home and then losing the majority of away games.'

West swapped places in the pyramid with Wisbech who were relegated from NE3 after finishing third from bottom. They will be keen to get off to a good start against Thetford who themselves moved up the ladder by winning EC Two. Swaffham, fourth in their maiden EC One term, travel to Ipswich YM as they kickstart a second term in the 12-team set-up.

- For more build-up to West's London NE3 opener listen to Episode 42 of the West Norfolk Sports Podcast, online this evening at

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