23rd Oct, 2020

Weather thwarts Valley's surge

Liam Moakes 3rd Dec, 2019

RUGBY Town’s hopes of building on their recent scintillating form were dashed by the postponement of Saturday’s United Counties League fixture at Rothwell Corinthians.

The combination of a frozen and waterlogged pitch at the Northamptonshire club’s Seargents Lawn home left Town kicking their heels and unable to follow up on successive 8-0 and 12-0 home wins over Sleaford and Desborough respectively.

Valley’s inactivity saw them slip a place to fourth in the Premier Division table, with Loughborough University leapfrogging them with a 4-0 victory over Cogenhoe.

Rugby are scheduled to play the side immediately below them this weekend, when they make the trip to Lincolnshire to face the much-fancied Deeping Rangers who secured runners-up berth ahead of Town in last season’s table, as they emerged as the main contenders to ultimate title winners Daventry.

Despite having kept the majority of their 2018/19 squad together, Rangers went on to start the new campaign relatively slowly, but have now picked up their game and sit below Carl Adams’ men on goal difference only.

Valley boss Adams noted the strength of the teams currently challenging at and near the top. He said: “We know from last year that Deeping will be a very tough proposition for us this weekend.

“Shepshed have built a decent cushion at the top with their excellent start to the season but, now they’ve finally lost their 100 per cent record, hopefully the pack can gradually get them back within grasp.

“I still rate Holbeach as a big danger and Quorn look the form team at the moment too.”

Shepshed’s perfect start in the UCL came to an end in their last league outing with a 2-1 defeat at second-placed Quorn and the gap between the two sides is now down to three points, although Dynamo have played three games less than their neighbours.

Adams will possibly go into the weekend with his squad two players light following the departures of Fazel Koriya and Jazz Luckie.

Veteran Koriya’s fourth spell at the club came to an end after he was appointed joint-manager of UCL Division One side Sileby Rangers. He had featured in 15 games after he rejoined the club in September, scoring once in his final match – the thrashing of Desborough.

Having missed the start of the season through injury, Luckie then registered nine goals in 14 appearances before losing his place in the starting line-up to recent arrival Danico Johnson and the 29-year-old striker has now signed for Southern League Premier side Alvechurch.

Town will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s game at Outgang Road, when they put in arguably their best away performance of the campaign to see off Deeping 3-0 thanks to goals from Lewis Rankin, Simeon Tulloch and Loyiso Recci.

Rugby then face fixtures against two sides currently sitting in the bottom half of the table in Anstey (home) and Oadby (away) before hosting Lutterworth in the Boxing Day derby.

CLUB founder Keith Coughlan has provided further clarification with regards to club records following Valley’s thumping win over Desborough.

It was acknowledged at the time the success represented Rugby’s best ever league performance in senior football, but now it has been confirmed it has not been topped within their 63-plus years of league participation.

Keith explained: “The 12-0 victory was bigger than any first team league one since the club was founded. The only time we have bettered this was on December 12, 1959 in the Rugby Junior Charity Cup when we beat BTH Apprentices 20-0 at home at Thornfield.”

Six of that bumper haul were scored by Digby Berry, who still regularly watches games at Butlin Road whilst also helping to raise funds as a club volunteer.

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