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EASTERN COUNTIES ONE: Wests’ boss praises Drawbridge as Cantabs look to secure invincible record

12:00 13 April 2012

West Norfolk Rugby Club, playing in their maroon and blue colours, in action earlier this season.

West Norfolk Rugby Club, playing in their maroon and blue colours, in action earlier this season.

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Manager Nigel Richardson has paid tribute to his opposite number Steve Drawbridge as West Norfolk travel to invincible champions Cantabrigian tomorrow.

Richardson’s charges are the only side that can prevent Greene King Eastern Counties Division One title-winning Cantabs from completing the season with an incredible 100pc league record.

Wests’ boss believes Drawbridge deserves a huge amount of credit for leading his rampant outfit to 19 consecutive league victories ahead of both side’s final games of the season.

He said: “Cantabs have come on hugely from last season and have ground out results week in and week out. They’ve won the league for a reason.

“They were a similar level to us last season so it’s a great achievement, especially to finish ahead of, and beat, a strong Wisbech side twice. They’ve got some experienced players and a big pack but Steve’s really done a great job.

“You have to take your hat off to him. To turn a side that was a top five team, into a title-winning one, is a tremendous achievement. He’s done a great job in installing a winning mentality and has always got his teams playing to their strengths.

“To travel away from home and keep consistently winning is incredible and they’ll be stronger at home. We couldn’t have asked for a harder game to end with.”

Wests sit fifth in the table and kept their slim hopes of a fourth-placed finish alive by hammering Crusaders 36-12 at home a fortnight ago.

Richardson’s side lost 22-10 at home to Cantabs earlier this season and the West Norfolk manager admits he expects tomorrow’s clash to be similarly competitive.

He said: “There’s always something to play for and there’s an added incentive due to the circumstances of the game.

“They will want to end the season with 20 wins, or at least remain unbeaten, so I doubt they’ll be putting out a weaker side even though they’ve won the title.

“We want to be the team that stops them. Plus it’s five or six lads last game in a West Norfolk shirt before they go to university so they’ll want to go out on a high too. It won’t be your normal end-of-season game I’m sure of that.”

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