Haverhill Rovers reserves fold after playing five games
Haverhill Rovers Reserves have pulled out of their division, which could leave the first team without support next season.
However, Rovers manager Ali Shulver is confident that will not happen and expects to have the reserve side back in action for the next campaign.
The team pulled out of the Thurlow Nunn Reserve Premier Division having played just five games.
It had been operating as an under-21 side since Haverhill Sports Association (HSA) was set up for the 2011-12 season.
HSA was designed as – and still acts as – a feeder club for Rovers, with players registered at all three clubs.
However, HSA have applied to be promoted to the Thurlow Nunn Division One next season, and if successful players will be unable to play for both them and Rovers, leaving the first team without a back up club.
“You can’t have a first team without a reserve team at any level of football,” said Shulver.
“They key thing for the reserves is to support Rovers, and that’s why we need to get the right people into run it because if Ben’s team (HSA manager Cowling) go up we have the reserves as back up.
“What we will be looking to do is start the team up again next season and get a manager, because without a shadow of a doubt that’s what it needs.
“Cody (Frasier) has done a good job of running the side but he has had a lack of players to support him, and I think the problem we have got with a lot of the youngsters where the only line of work they get is retail, working in Sainsbury’s or Tesco, so a lot work over the weekend.
“When I played we worked at HMP (Haverhill Meat Products) and Project (Furniture), so Saturday was free for football, but unfortunately these jobs don’t exist anymore and it’s starting to hit football.
“We will look to rebuild and reenter them into the league, and we’ve already spoken to the league and should be able to do that.
“We could look at other leagues as well as the last thing we want to do is put a load of youngsters in a league where they get annihilated week in week out.”
Despite the side folding, Shulver insisted the set-up – designed to have the reserves as an under-21 outfit, HSA as the reserves and Rovers as the first team – is not a failure.
“There are players in the first team that have progressed through the set up, like Perry Moody, Sam Holmes and Aaron Forehaw, but it’s still a massive step from HSA to Rovers.
“Some youngsters have left because maybe they wanted to play a bit too soon – at 17 or 18 it’s a massive step to play in the Thurlow Nunn League, and you’re really looking at being 22 or 23.
“A lot of players want to know which team they’ll be playing in, but this is a three team club so when you sign for Haverhill you could be selected for any one of the three teams, and for some players that’s hard to get their head around.
“I’ve had conversations with players who just want to know where they’ll be playing week in week out, but no-one can be guaranteed that.”
Shulver said one of the reason’s for failure was the collapse of an under-16 side last season and the inevitable loss of players, but with more youth players feeding through the system this season the reserves should be replenished.
The first team face a trip to Brantham Athletic tomorrow (Saturday, January 12, 3pm kick off) before hosting Dereham Town the following Saturday (January 19, 3pm kick off) – both sides that have applied for promotion along with Rovers.
“We’ve got two cup finals ahead – behind the scenes we know these are two massive games but we’re trying to tell the players it’s just another two games to try and win.”
Shulver has to contend with niggles to full back Greg Strong and captain Paul Abbott, while combative midfielder Stuart Kingham returns from suspension.
Sam Holmes is likely to be missing due to an ankle injury while Jamie Challis, who is suffering from persistent groin injuries, is to get more medical advice.
For all the latest sport see Thursday’s (January 17) Echo.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Haverhill
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west