New mental toughness is serving Haverhill well

Haverhill captain Adam Dellar in action. ANL-150726-195527009

Haverhill captain Adam Dellar in action. ANL-150726-195527009

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A never say die mentality is clearly serving Haverhill well this season as recent results have proved.

As one of the three teams promoted into the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One, many have tipped them to go back down again - especially as they are the only side without an overseas player.

But the team now occupies sixth spot in the table, just ten points of third-placed Witham, after their latest nerve-jangling win - by one wicket at Mistley - gave them their third victory in the five matches played this season.

Skipper Adam Dellar said: “We should have won against Copford, we know that, obviously that was a loss (by three runs) but in all three games we have won we have been in positions where, other than Hadleigh at home, and definitely on Saturday we looked like we were out of it.

“But like we have done in the last few weeks we’ve come back strong. It’s the never say die mentality.”

Dellar praised the contribution of Callum Brunning at Mistley, where he took 3-15 off ten overs and scored ten not out at number 11 to see the team home.

“Callum came in and bowled extremely well. He followed Ben (Wilkins) who has bowled extremely well for us this season and followed that up,” said the captain.

Brunning has returned to Sheffield to complete the final two weeks of his university semester, so Wilkins returns after being unavailable at Mistley, but he will return for the rest of the summer after completing his academic year.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Dave Humphrey is also away at the weekend, so Alex Archer will come in.

When Haverhill were relegated from Division One in 2014 they won just four of their 22 matches, but they already stand just one shy of that total and on Saturday face a trip to Braintree (1pm), the only side without a win.

With Haverhill and Mildenhall the only two teams in the division to have not been bowled out so far this season, Dellar is right to point out the team’s ‘never say die’ attitude.

He added: “We have got so many things that we are doing so well at the moment, it’s not just team spirit, they are a really good bunch of lads in the club this year and both teams, even though the seconds came up short on Saturday; it feels good and everybody is taking responsibility and we haven’t even clicked where more than two of us have got runs.

“We haven’t got an overseas who can come on and blast the top four out and we haven’t got an overseas batsman who can come in and score a 100 so we are having to work really hard each week and it’s draining but it’s really pleasing that we are able to do that.

“We are a bit tougher mentally. Cricket is very psychological as well.

“You’ve not just got the bowler trying to get you out, you’ve got people all around you saying things to try and distract you and the boys are coping with that.

“If we can keep these players together for a couple of years we will be a force.”

Haverhill XI: Pass, Phillips, Palmer, Dellar (c), Burrows, Ruthven, Poole, Archer, B Wilkins, Bailey. Smith.

On Monday (30th) Haverhill host their annual six-a-side competition, sponsored by Python Cricket, including two teams from Haverhill, Horseheath and Wratting Lions. It starts at 10.30am and there is a barbecue and a bar.

•Haverhill II are at home to Coggesahll II on Saturday (1pm) in Division Three.