Haverhill will be desperate to get some early points on the table from their opening match at last year’s strugglers, Hadleigh, writes Russell Claydon.
Ben Wallis’ Hadleigh were only spared relegation to the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division Two when a surprising 77-point deduction was levied on Coggeshall for every match they were found to have fielded the same ineligible player.
But while Hadleigh, who have warned Haverhill their new £250,000 pavilion may not be ready in time for the season opener, will be looking to make the most of their second chance in Division One, Haverhill’s Adam Dellar admits they need to make sure they take advantage of any weaknesses still apparent.
“There are five or six teams in the league who beat us twice last year and so these are the kind of games, with teams we expect to be in and around us, that we have got to target for some points,” he said.
Haverhill had looked like they may get sucked into a relegation fight on their first season back in the Two Counties’ top flight before some encouraging form saw them pull far enough away before the late and unexpected alterations to the table took place.
But, with a full-strength squad to choose from for Saturday’s opening fixture (1pm), which is followed by their first league outing of 2017 at Manor Road when relegated Woolpit visit the following weekend, the skipper is keen to hit the ground running.
Dellar’s vice-captain, Anthony Phillips, will be in line to open the bowling along with Ben Wilkins, while all-rounder Chris Palmer, who impressed in his debut campaign with Haverhill after signing from Sawston & Babraham has been challenged to keep that level of performance up.
“If Chris can do the same as last season, we will be over-the-moon,” said Dellar, who also spoke highly of teenage seamer Will Bailey, who was the recipient of his Captain’s Award at the club’s annual presentation evening in November.
While experienced Joe Woodley and Dan Pass are set to use the new ball, his one to watch coming down to the wicket is Harry Harding, who shone for in the second team last season who avoided relegation by a place in their first ever season in Division Three. They begin at home to Sudbury II on Saturday (1pm).
And Dellar said the foundation of youth is the cornerstone to the club’s future success.
“We are the underdogs going into pretty much every game,” he said.
“Although we are a town club we are small in terms of our infrastructure and we are building from the bottom with the kids.”
From tomorrow, weekly evening sessions for those as young as four get under way with 75-100 previously attending. For more information call Dellar on 07771 567564.