Rugby Union: Old Cooperians scrum-half Craig Ratford delighted with ‘brilliant’ 2016

PUBLISHED: 14:00 23 December 2016

Tony Bly scored two tries for Old Cooperians at Woodford (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Tony Bly scored two tries for Old Cooperians at Woodford (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Coops won league title and have taken well to life in new division

Old Cooperians scrum-half Craig Ratford says that 2016 has been a brilliant year for the club, despite ending it on a winless run of four games in London Two North East.

Coops had a vintage year in 2016, winning the London Three North East title and then taking to life extremely well in the league above, winning eight of their first nine games.

And though their recent barren run has seem them fall out of the promotion positions, Ratford insists it has still been a tremendous year for the club on the whole.

“Overall, it’s been a brilliant year and the losses that we’ve had in the last few weeks don’t take away from that,” he said.

“We’ve only lost three times in the league all year, and every one of those came in London Two North East, so it doesn’t detract from the year we’ve had.

“The break is coming at the right time for us because this time of year is tough on player availability, but we have some big games to come in the new year and we’re all looking forward to it.”

Coops’ latest loss came at Woodford last weekend as they went down 37-12, despite two tries for Tony Bly, one of which was converted by Tom Morgan.

However, backs coach Ratford revealed that Coops were missing a host of players and that, all things considering, is was a decent display in defeat.

“Considering we had 16 out and the squad named had an average age of around 23, I think we did well,” he added.

“I said in the build-up about how Woodford had improved since we beat them in September and so it proved.

“We hung in there for around 50 minutes, before they pulled away, and it was always going to be tough to get back into it.”

Coops can now rest up with no match until January 7, when they entertain local rivals Campion.

The St Mary’s Lane club are still just 10 points back from South Woodham Ferrers in second, so there is still a chance they could complete successive promotions to London One North, but Ratford will not allow himself to get carried away.

“The long-term aim is still to establish ourselves in Two North East,” he added. “The potential we have at the club is huge, but we have to give ourselves the platform. It is good to be looking up, not down, though.”

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