Haverhill fail to register a point after four games

POIGNANT: Haverhill travelled to Thurston Rangers RC in the team's first fixture since the tragic death of Josh Gilbert
POIGNANT: Haverhill travelled to Thurston Rangers RC in the team's first fixture since the tragic death of Josh Gilbert

Head coach Tony Hope remains optimistic about the club’s fortunes, despite another huge 71-3 defeat away to Thurston on Saturday.

The team have failed to win any league points so far this season, registering just eight points in their four games, but Hope said it is all ‘vital experience’ for his young side.

“We’re going to be in the bottom half of the table come January,” he said. “Instead, this is a good time to get some experience, try things and generally prepare for the second half of the season. That’s where it’s going to matter to us this year.”

Each of the three Eastern Counties Greene King League’s divisions are split into three regions: north, south and west.

At the half-way point of the season, having played each other twice, each region is further split into those that will compete for the division title and those that will fight to avoid relegation. Two teams usually get demoted.

Hope added: “We’ve got a lot to work on but the scores haven’t been reflective.”

They next host Bury St Edmunds III on Saturday (3pm).

The game against Haverhill was Thurston Rangers RC first fixture since the tragic death of Josh Gilbert, one of their second string props.

The team’s second string were also at home having received a special dispensation from the league in a highly emotional day for the club.

Thurston chairman Matt Ansell has praised Haverhill for the way they helped make Saturday a fitting tribute to the tragic prop.

Haverhill players, club officials and supporters took part in an emotional minute’s applause before kick-off at Robinson Field in memory of the 25-year-old, who collapsed and died playing in a league match for Thurston II at Hadleigh last month.

They then stayed behind after the game with his family to play their part in a ceremony in the clubhouse to retire his shirt.

“Both opposition sides should be credited, not just on the playing field, but in the clubhouse afterwards, for paying their respects,” said Ansell.

More than 250 people are thought to have attended as both Thurston sides played at home after postponing their matches last week.