BBC to shine light on The New Croft
Live national FA Cup coverage is coming to town, with the BBC confirming the Haverhill derby will be its first port of call this year.
The national broadcaster has chosen The New Croft’s extra preliminary round clash between Rovers and Borough on Saturday, August 11 as the first game to be aired for this season’s knock-out tournament.
It will be broadcast on BBC iPlayer, with the match moved to an earlier time of 12.30pm to circumnavigate the 3pm blackout, which bans televised football between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday.
Both managers have reacted positively to the prospect of a fourth meeting of the two teams – and the second in an FA competition – having first faced each other in an FA Vase match in 2016.
Borough were the hosts on that occasion, winning 1-0 on their 3G pitch, but Haverhill Rovers will play host on their grass pitch this time for an incredibly local derby between two clubs who share a facility but not ground, an unusual if not unique set-up.
Peter Betts, facilities and football development manager at The New Croft, said: “It showcases the site and probably also gives people an insight into how brilliant the facilities are here.
“The FA Cup is always a great advertisement for football in Haverhill and this is very exciting.
“Football has grown massively in the town, helped by the improved facilities, and I hope this will capture a bigger audience than ever before.
“There’s a lot riding on this for both clubs.”
All three previous meetings between the pair have seen impressive attendance figures – with 2016’s FA Vase match attracting a bumper crowd of 654 spectators – and it is hoped the clash next Saturday will do the same.
Betts said the teams will share the gate, profiting equally, although the winner (£2,250) will walk away with £1,500 more than the loser (£750), with this season’s competition doubling the prize money in the early rounds.
Marc Abbott, Rovers manager, said: “The news from the FA is really exciting, and will add some spice to the fixture.
“For Haverhill Rovers, it’s a great opportunity to showcase our football club, gain lots of public interest and it could also financially help to create a sustainable environment by winning the fixture.
“We will approach the game in a calm manner, not getting too overwhelmed with the hype or publicity.
“It will be our role to ensure our players contain their emotions come the 11th."
Scott Hiskey, Borough manager, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic for the community, the town and the club itself.
“But we will continue to put all of our focus into the task at hand.
“My players are well prepared for the game but we will concentrate on this particular game once our first league fixture is done.
“It’s important we don’t let our focus slide and work on starting our league campaign positively.”