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Bury St Edmunds make club history with highest ever National League 2 South finish



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There is a video on Bury St Edmunds’ Twitter page that shows just how elated head coach and director of rugby Jacob Ford was to have overseen the club’s best ever National League 2 South performance.

Crouched down on the touchline with his hands pressed to his face, Ford springs up with both arms aloft and a big smile as the referee signalled the conclusion of Saturday’s 34-31 win at Canterbury.

It was a result that secured a sixth-placed finish for the Wolfpack, who also ended up in that position after the RFU implemented a points per game formula to bring an early conclusion to the 2019/20 season due to Covid-19. Prior to that, Bury’s highest placing was seventh – achieved during 2015/16, their debut at the level.

And Ford believes that such an achievement only bodes well for what is to come next term.

“You can see the emotion in that video for sure,” said Ford. “It means quite a lot to have finished sixth in a completed season for the first time in the club’s history.

“It’s a big landmark for the club and over the last eight weeks or so it’s something we’ve been working towards achieving.

Last weekend's away win secured Bury St Edmunds a sixth-placed finish. Picture: Mecha Morton
Last weekend's away win secured Bury St Edmunds a sixth-placed finish. Picture: Mecha Morton

“We’ve managed to get there – which is fantastic – and that will give us some real momentum and confidence going into next year when we’ve got to be looking for more.”

Ford and his players will now take a break until late June, but plans are already in place in terms of recruitment and additions to the coaching set-up.

A new forwards and backs coach will be coming in, while the strength and conditioning set-up will be further enhanced.

Meanwhile, after last summer – when the newly-hired Ford added a double-figure number of fresh faces to the squad – this time around he expects a more straightforward process.

Jacob Ford is predicting a quieter summer in terms of player recruitment. Picture: Mecha Morton
Jacob Ford is predicting a quieter summer in terms of player recruitment. Picture: Mecha Morton

“The way we ended off the season, probably since Christmas, has really shown we are moving in the right direction,” added Ford.

“We are expecting this to be a very different summer. For a start all of the boys have re-committed and I’m told that’s the first time that has happened at the club.

“We just need to add that little bit of depth that four or five players will provide.

“Two or three of those will have experience of playing at this level or higher, but I’m also excited about a couple of the youngsters we’ve got coming in.

“What you want is a squad full of hungry and talented players, which I’m confident we’ll have.”

After the victory at Canterbury, which came about thanks to the boot of Charlie Reed with the last kick of the game, Toby Hill was named the Players’ Player of the Year.

“Toby has had an excellent season,” said Ford. “He’s played 30 games at prop and that is unheard of. He thoroughly deserved the award.”