Haverhill 39 Mistley 3
by Steve Barton
A storming start to the match paved the way for Haverhill to avenge an earlier league defeat to Mistley and take their place in the Suffolk Shield final.
Kieran Ewens got the hosts their first points on the board in the fifth minute when his penalty sailed between the posts.
Haverhill’s advantage soon stretched to 8-0 when skipper Adam Hunt crossed the line on ten minutes for his first try of the match, although Ewens failed with his conversion attempt.
Although the visitors converted a penalty of their own to register their first points Ewens added a brace of further penalties before the half-time break to give the hosts a strong lead.
Five minutes into the second period Monty Beaton scored a try to take Haverhill’s lead to 19-3, although the home side suffered an injury setback on 50 minutes when Ewens eye injury forced him off.
His replacement Jake Jeffs, making his comeback from an ankle injury, made a swift impression by kicking a drop goal five minutes after his arrival.
Hunt compounded Mistley’s woes with his second try on 60 minutes as Haverhill opened up a commanding lead. Jeffs converted to put his team out of reach at 29-3 up.
Further tries in the closing stages by Kieran McDonagh and substitute Simon Lester, who sprinted clear from well inside his own half, cemented Haverhill’s place in the final and made the closing score 39-3.
Haverhill’s victory means the defence of a trophy they won for the first time last season is still on.
They now go on to face Brightlingsea, who are currently in the lower reaches of Essex League Division Two, in the final at Castle Playing Fields on Saturday, December 8, after they scraped past Felixstowe 27-24.
Haverhill’s chairman of the playing side, Dave Halsey, was delighted with the performance, in particular the discipline showed by his team in the face of some late provocation - and is now looking ahead to the final.
Halsey added: “It’s at our ground. Unfortunately there’s another England international that day, but we’ve got home advantage and based on where Brightlingsea are playing and their level, we are very confident of winning it.”
Haverhill are now bringing in Martyn Hughes to work alongside head coach Jake Jeffs.
Hughes, who joined as a player in the summer, will be going on a level one coaching
course to enable him to assist Jeffs.