Haverhill Cricket Club are accepting of their fate as one of two teams that will be demoted from Division One of the Two Counties Championship.
The team had been hopeful of pulling off a last-gasp climb out of the relegation zone by defeating Worlington on Saturday — but a wet weekend saw the game cancelled before it had even begun.
Greg Street, long-term member of the club and second-team captain, said: “We’re bitterly disappointed by the end result and not to be able to get the chance to fight for safety.
“That’s the over-riding feeling, we were geared up as a club for the final game shoot-out, and the rain prevented that.
“So now, as far as we are concerned, we have ended up in the bottom two and will be playing in Division Two next year.”
Worlington were sitting eight points above Haverhill in the league table going into their final fixture, and were occupying the last safe spot in the division.
With 20 points available for a win, it was a winner-takes-all situation and Haverhill were convinced they could do enough to beat them and retain their Division One status.
But, according to Street, the game was cancelled on Saturday morning after an independent umpire assessed the pitch as unplayable.
Initial concerns had been raised by the club about the amount of water lying on it, but Haverhill decided there was no evidence of misconduct by Worly, nor rule, that seems to have been flouted.
Street said: “Circumstances have conspired against us and we’ve not been able to escape demotion. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.
“You can’t blame Worlington, you can’t even blame the weather — if we weren’t in this position going into the final game then this couldn’t have happened. We’ve had our chances, we haven’t taken them and it’s resulted in us being relegated.
“But the players are so disappointed not to be able to get their chance to try to avoid the drop.
“And there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of going down. We went down a few years ago but came straight back up the following season, and we were a lot better for it.
“So, at the end of the day, it’s all good experience, especially for a squad as young as they are.
“What really hurts is the loss of that prestige, we want our first team to be playing in the best league they can and we believe that’s Division One.”
Meanwhile, in better news for the club, former Haverhill player Chris Silverwood has guided his Essex county side to their first ever top division title.