Rugby Union: Old Cooperians duo Tom Wheatley and Ray Flowers set to play final game for club
PUBLISHED: 14:00 07 April 2017
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Duo will play last game for Coops at home to Cantabrigian on final day of London Two North East season
It is not just the current London Two North East season that Old Cooperians will wave goodbye to this weekend, with two squad members set to play their final game for the club.
Centre Tom Wheatley and flanker Ray Flowers have both announced their decision not to play for Coops next season.
It means there will be plenty of emotion at St Mary’s Lane tomorrow (Saturday) where Cantabrigians are the visitors.
And backs coach Craig Ratford was only too happy to praise the duo, who helped the club win promotion from London Three North East last season.
“Tom and Ray will both be playing their last game for the club on Saturday, so it will be an emotional day for both of them,” said Ratford.
“Tom is stepping away because of work commitments, but Ray’s only doing it because he’s old!
“They are Old Coops boys so they will be missed and Ray has been a character around the team, which is what you need at times.”
Both players would dearly love to end their Coops careers with wins, while the club will also want one to end the season on a high.
It has been a solid campaign for the club following promotion last season, comfortably consolidating their position for next term.
And now Ratford hopes the team can crown it in style with what would be their 12th win of the campaign.
“It’s the last game of the season and the last chance for us to get another ‘W’ on the board,” he added.
“We’re playing at home, which is an added bonus, and the weather is looking good so it should be a good day.
“It’s going to be another challenge but I expect the game to be an open one which will suit us.
“All we need to do is outscore them, it’s a simple as that – I’d happily take a one-point success right now.”
Coops came close to a win on their final away day of the season last weekend as they went down 27-22 away to already-promoted South Woodham Ferrers.
Kolade Awobowale, Jack Portsmouth and George Wilkins all crossed for Coops in the defeat as they picked up a losing bonus point.
But Ratford believes the team were unfortunate not to return from the Essex countryside with more to show for their efforts.
“If we had had the rub of the green and had some decisions go our way which should have, then we would have won,” he added.
“We outplayed them and scored some good tries; it was probably one of our best displays away from home all season.
“We’ve beaten three of the four teams in the top four this season, so it shows we’re not far off where we need to be.
“It’s about consistency, though, and we haven’t been that consistent away from home this season.”