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Century-topping form back in time to secure division status in Two Counties Championship

Last season’s top run scorer in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship once more found his century-topping form for Haverhill at the weekend, as he became the only first-teamer to reach the milestone this year.

Luke Youngs hit 113 runs away to Coggeshall Town in Division One on Saturday for his – and the first team’s – best knock of 2019, as he helped the side to a 233-7 target. He is the only first team player to reach a ton this year.

But, despite the competitive total, the home side (235-9) kept in contact before producing a six off the last ball of their 50 overs to steal the victory by one wicket.

Haverhill v Coggeshall - Luke Young.Pic - Richard Marsham. (16178855)
Haverhill v Coggeshall - Luke Young.Pic - Richard Marsham. (16178855)

Haverhill have now suffered five consecutive defeats in the league and are winless in seven outings.

But Youngs was keen to emphasise that it was ‘not all bad news’, with the club picking up a vital nine points for their performance to guarantee their status as a Division One side – they cannot mathematically finish in a bottom-two relegation spot with two fixtures remaining.

“It’s a tough week to react to,” the 25-year-old said. “Personally it was a welcome change, I have been okay this season but not outstanding.

“It’s been quite frustrating, I’ve felt I was batting well but I haven’t progressed to the higher scores – setting up a good base on 20/30 and then getting out.

“So it was great to finally see it happen for me. I would have liked it to have come earlier in the season but better late than never.

“It’s nice to have done that in the game that also secured Division One for next year, that was always the main aim of our season.

“It’s a huge success to stay up, and we’ve achieved it with two games – or even three – to go. In fact, we’ve not been in a relegation battle all season, so it’s not all bad news.”

The side in eighth position in the league are again away on Saturday, in their penultimate game of the year, to 10th-placed Halstead (12pm) and Youngs is confident the side can end on back-to-back wins.

“Our final games are very winnable,” he said. “We would like to put in some good performances and finish well.

“We enjoyed ourselves on Saturday and I think that’s been missing – we’ve been feeling the pressure with the bat and it’s cost us a bit. We’ve been feeling like we’ve not been doing well with our losing run but that’s not really true, overall, it’s been a positive season.

“So we want to enjoy the last two weekends knowing we’re safe.”

Youngs will not be available as he prepares for the Great North Run on Sunday, but hopes another batsman can pick up the mantle.

In Division Three, Haverhill II (204) lost to Brockley (207-9) by three runs. They host Woolpit II this Saturday (12.30pm).

In Division Nine West, Woolpit IV (158) lost to Haverhill III (160-5) as the visitors wrapped up their season in second place, narrowly missing out on promotion.

* Meanwhile, Suffolk (341) and (217-4) beat Northumberland (237) and (317) by six wickets.

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