Jacob Ford praises 100-cap Ben Cooper after Bury St Edmunds beat Henley at the Greene King IPA Haberden
Bury St Edmunds head coach Jacob Ford labelled Ben Cooper as ‘one of the pillars’ of their success over the last few years after the prop made his 100th appearance for the club in their 26-14 victory over Henley on Saturday.
Ford’s side maintained their 100 per cent home record at the weekend to remain third in National League 2 East and only seven points off top-of-the-table Esher.
Cooper, a former youth player at the club, signed for Bury in February 2019 from Bedford Blues and capped off his centenary appearance with a victory against current fifth-placed opposition.
“He’s massive, he’s been one of the pillars to our success over the last couple of years. He’s a fantastic clubman, you can see when he plays how much it means to him to play for the club,” said Ford.
“That’s invaluable, you can’t buy that, and that actually rubs off on the boys.
“The boys started playing for something bigger at the weekend than just another match. They care about what they do and he epitomises that. He’s going to go from strength to strength at the club and I can see him being here for quite a while.
“He’s one of those players that everyone looks up to. He probably doesn’t realise it, but naturally he is one of those leaders. I’m really happy for him and I’m really happy to see how he’s going to get on for the rest of the year.”
Cooper was not the only player celebrating a landmark cap at the weekend, as Samir Kharbouch made his 50th appearance in the victory over Henley. Ford also described him as a ‘fantastic clubman’.
“He does a lot more than just play for the first team and contribute every weekend,” he said.
“He’s coach of the Colts and they’re through to the quarter-finals of the National Cup, he’s doing a great job for the club. I’m really happy for him.”
And what an atmosphere to commemorate the landmark appearances, as an estimated 750 people entered the Greene King IPA Haberden on Saturday.
The largest attendance of the season saw Archie Bourne (2), Kharbouch and Mike Stanway cross the whitewash as Ben Penfold was on hand to add the extras.
Ford stated he had ‘never seen’ the ground like that since he has been at the club.
He said: “It was a great atmosphere, the boys love it. It must be pretty hard to come and play when you’ve got that on your back as well I can imagine.”
Bury, who are looking to extend their unbeaten run to 11 games, travel to ninth-placed Sevenoaks on Saturday (2pm).