Bury Foxes on the cusp of promotion with final game decider on Sunday
‘Can you just imagine if we were to win it and get promoted?’
The unbridled enthusiasm of Bury Foxes’ Emily-Jane Stearn is impossible to ignore, as the Women’s Championship Midlands 2 side sit on the cusp of achieving promotion to women’s rugby’s second tier in their first-ever league campaign in the division.
Were they to achieve the impressive feat of back-to-back promotions, they would find themselves competing in a league that is just one step away from the Premiership.
But the Foxes, who lie third ahead of Sunday’s trip to fourth-placed Birmingham Moseley Ladies (2pm), are ‘up against it’ with two teams ahead of them in the table and could miss out on promotion even if they gain the bonus-point win.
Stearn said: “We were aiming to finish midtable in our first season at this level, but obviously that quickly went out the window.
“Promotion is there if we can win – but we need a bonus point and we need both sides above us not to get one, so it’s fair to say we are the outsiders.
“We are a little bit up against it as it is Buckingham (Swans) and Kenilworth’s to lose, but to be in this position with a game to go is just amazing.
“But, there’s also a chance for a play-off spot if we can sneak into second. There’s talk of a league restructure as well though so we just don’t know about that yet.
“It’s just madness, we never even considered that we would be in this incredible position with just one game to go.
“It’s totally undreamt of.”
The Foxes are just one point off league leaders Buckingham Swans and share the points with second-placed Kenilworth but have fewer bonus points than both and a smaller points difference.
They have won as many games (10) as the Swans and one game more than Kenilworth.
“We’re now in an interesting position, promoted or not, we now need to sit down and reassess the aims of the club and what we want,” the outside centre, who has been playing rugby at first-team level for the past 20 years, added.
“We’re now getting close to the top levels and with that comes a lot more commitment, and we need to decide if that’s what we now want.
“But promotion or not, I think we’ve been noticed now, teams are aware of our competitive edge.”
* Meanwhile seven Foxes have been selected for the 2020 Eastern Counties squad: Steph Hanratty, Steph Durrant, EJ Stearn, Chantelle Higgins, Natalie Palmer, Robyn Gordon and Chloe Rumsey