Haverhill need more time to rebuild

Joe Woodley bowls for Haverhill against Ipswich.'''Pic - Richard Marsham ANL-150523-201450009
Joe Woodley bowls for Haverhill against Ipswich.'''Pic - Richard Marsham ANL-150523-201450009

Although not discounting promotion, skipper Joe Woodley believes Haverhill may be better off missing out this time and staying in Division Two.

Haverhill have been left 40 points and two positions behind second-placed Braintree after the Essex club won their Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship encounter by 40 runs on Saturday.

Haverhill succumbed to 67 all out in pursuit of just 108 for victory, leaving them knowing that a place in the top two and a guaranteed promotion spot is out of their control with just four games, and a maximum of 80 points, left to play for.

Should a non Suffolk or Essex side be relegated from the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League and the winners of Division One go up as their replacement via the play-off, then it is possible Haverhill could still be promoted if they end up in third place.

Should that happen, added Woodley, Haverhill would be more than happy to accept their good fortune.

However, Woodley says it may be better for the team, of which he is the eldest at 27, to remain in Division Two a little longer and gain more experience before hopefully returning to the top division.

He said: “We’ve got four very winnable games. If we can perform as we should we can win all four but looking at the way we have performed over the last season, season and a half, maybe we are better off in Division Two for the next season or two to rebuild.

“Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back to take two steps forward and that’s the way we look at it.”

The manner of Saturday’s defeat provided more evidence of how the team would benefit from more experience of hardened match play in pressure situations, as Woodley explained.

“I think to be honest, at the moment we are a bit naive.

“It was not a nasty game but I think perhaps some of the boys were responding to the verbals they were getting rather than the actual balls coming down next.

“That became the focal point of the innings, as young men getting verbally abused they wanted to give something back. Perhaps the best way to hurt Braintree was to score the 108 to win.

“It is about experience and we need to work on that over the winter.”

Leading run scorer Adam Dellar, who was sorely missed against Braintree, returns from holiday for Saturday’s trip to second-bottom Sudbury II, a place where the wicket usually yields runs.

Woodley said: “If we don’t turn up against Sudbury with 100 per cent concentration we will get beaten.”

The skipper is nursing a back injury and will sit the match out should the other 11 in the squad all be available. Dellar will deputise as captain.

Haverhill XI: Powell, Savage, Phillips, Boulton, Dellar, Poole, Pass, Davis, Wilkins, Bailey, C Brunning, Woodley (c).