Haverhill Cricket Club’s relegation battle is becoming increasingly desperate after another loss at home.
The first team hosted Witham, a team just two places above them in Division One, but were unable to capitalise on the opportunity to close the gap on their nearest rivals.
Instead, their nine-wicket loss saw them fall further behind in the battle to avoid demotion — which is set to see two teams sent down at the end of the season.
They remain 14 points clear of bottom-placed Braintree, but 21 points adrift of third-from-bottom Mistley.
Haverhill were only able to muster 109 runs with the bat on Saturday, a total Witham did not struggle to reach — with the loss of only one wicket.
The home side were keen to get back to winning ways following success against Worly on July 1, but were looking to do it without the help of regular captain Adam Dellar, who is unavailable for two games — including this weekend’s potential relegation fixture against Frinton on Sea II.
The division is still awaiting a decision of a Frinton appeal, following the league management committee’s unanimous agreement that the team had fielded an ineligible player on July 1 against Maldon.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, Frinton would be docked 36 points which, at present, would see them drop below Haverhill in the table.
A win this weekend, for either side, could be the difference between staying up or going down.
Batsmen Anthony Phillips has temporarily stepped into the skipper role and will lead the side out against Frinton — as he did against Witham — but he will hope to see a different result in his second game at the helm.
Haverhill won the toss on Saturday, and chose to bat first on the cold and blustery day.
Openers Phillips and Dan Pass got off to a good start, posting a partnership of 38 before the first, second and third wickets fell.
Pass was first for 18, followed by Phillips (18) and James Boulton (0), to leave the side in a precarious position at 38-3.
Only Ben Wilkins (18) and Dave Humphrey (26 not out) were able to reach double figures as regular wickets fell for Haverhill. They were bowled out for 109 in the 47th over, with the side feeling that weather conditions played their part, working against them at points.
In reply, Witham attacked the bowlers from the first ball, making short work of chasing down the total.
Witham opener Michael Godwin (45) was the main contributor as the visitors easily reached 110-1 in the 19th over, securing a comfortable win by nine wickets.
n Haverhill next face Frinton-on-Sea II at home on Saturday (1pm).