Haverhill’s fight to avoid being dragged into the bottom two has been strengthened by the surprise return of batsman Sam Powell.
Powell was Haverhill’s second leading run scorer last season when they won promotion from Division Two of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship.
He hit 586 runs in 18 innings at an average of 32.56, including two centuries and two half-centuries as he finished the season second only to skipper Adam Dellar in the team’s run chart.
Powell left the club to take up a teaching post in Ascot, Berkshire, but has returned home to the area for the school summer holidays and is now available to play for Haverhill, starting with Saturday’s home match against third-placed Witham (1pm).
While in Berkshire, Powell has played five matches for Farnham in the Surrey Championship, Division One, scoring 211 runs in four innings, with top scores of 87 and 64.
Powell’s return has been welcomed by Dellar, who said: “He will probably come in at number four because we want to keep some stability with the team we have got.
“It definitely makes us stronger in the middle order.”
Witham arrive at Manor Road looking to extend Haverhill’s winless run to six matches but the home team, who are 13 points above the bottom two, will be buoyed by their improved display at Frinton.
Frinton had slipped from 94-2 to 119-7 in pursuit of 140 to win when lighting and rain brought an end to the match, but Haverhill’s showing pleased Dellar.
He said: “It was in the balance, I wouldn’t like to say if we would have won or not but at the end of the day after four defeats on the bounce it was a positive result for us.
“We are one of the youngest teams in the league in terms of the average age and we are still the only side without an overseas so we are doing alright.
“We are grinding away and plugging away and we have just got to keep going.
“Witham are in the hunt to win the league. There’s not too much pressure on the boys, we’ve just got to go out there and try and cause an upset.”
Opener Ant Phillips suffered a back injury at Frinton, but is fit to face Witham.
Haverhill XI: Dellar (c), Phillips, Palmer, Powell, Ruthven, Humphrey (wkt), Pass, B Wilkins, Kettle, Bailey, C Brunning.