Walsham coach plots promotion course
CHRIS LAKEY North Walsham coach Jon Curry gets his players together for the final training session of an elongated season on Thursday night as, for the second time, he plots a course to promotion.
North Walsham coach Jon Curry gets his players together for the final training session of an elongated season on Thursday night as, for the second time, he plots a course to promotion.
Walsham's hopes of an automatic place disappeared three weeks ago when defeat at Southend handed the National League Division Three South title to Cambridge.
The consolation was this weekend's play-off at home to Nuneaton, runners-up in Division Three North - but even Curry admits that he won't know until 3pm on Saturday how well his players have recovered mentally.
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Having gone into the Southend game a point ahead of Cambridge, Walsham needed just the win and the four tries that bring the bonus point to guarantee promotion. They scored the four tries but lost the match - and Cambridge leapfrogged them courtesy of a thumping win at Reading.
The despair among Walsham's players was there for all to see as they slumped to the ground at the final whistle, many of them in tears. Three weeks on, Curry will be hoping the mental and physical sides of their game are tip-top.
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“The difficult thing is that we have had a three-week break - you can do as much training as you want but that three-week break is an awful long time,” said Curry, who knows all too well that Nuneaton's last game was just a fortnight ago.
“Everyone is looking forward to it, but there is still huge disappointment after Southend and all we want to do now is get on with the job.
“All we need to worry about now is playing on Saturday, but you can't not think about what happened before. We need to get on to the field and play - then we'll know how they react.”
Curry gave his players a week off after the Southend defeat and says they have trained well in the past fortnight.
“We had the sevens two weeks ago, but to be fair I gave a lot of the lads a weekend off,” he said. “Last week we did a lot of leg-work and we've also had a good competitive in-club game.”
The Walsham coach warned his players that Southend would be a difficult proposition, and will warn them to be on their guard on Saturday against a Nuneaton side desperate to cast off the relegation spectre of last season and get back into National League Two.
“We mustn't forget there is another team involved, and Nuneaton went through the pain of relegation last season, they've spent a lot of money and they desperately want to go back up,” said Curry. “It is not going to be easy at all because they are a very good side with some good players - a very good all-round side.”
While North Walsham's season ended in disappointment, Nuneaton's ended in somewhat bizarre circumstances.
Their position as runners-up to Bradford & Bingley was assured and they completed their campaign with a 29-22 four-try win at Cleckheaton.
But the result was decided before kick-off when the hosts were forced to use an unregistered player at scrum-half, handing four points to Nuneaton - and an official 0-0 result on the record books.
And while Curry would have loved to have seen his players in competitive action, Nuneaton took the opportunity to rest key personnel - making no less than 14 changes.