The new Haverhill Cricket Club chairman has laid down the gauntlet for the 2018 cricket season, with only one major aim: promotion.
Rob Dovaston, who has replaced Michael Rinaldi at the helm for the new season, has revealed ambitious plans for all three of Haverhill’s Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship sides.
The club are united in their goal of seeing the first XI ‘bounce straight back’ to Division One — as well as high hopes for the second and third squads.
After heartbreak on the final day of the 2017 season for the first XI — as their winner-takes-all match against Worlington was cancelled due to bad weather, condemning them to relegation — it has long been the message from the Haverhill clubhouse that one season in Division Two is plenty.
But Dovaston has revealed the club are targeting promotion for all the Marshall Hatchick sides, as they look to boost the overall quality of cricket in the town, as well as the progression from development to first team cricket.
Dovaston said the second XI are targeting a place in Division Two next season while Haverhill III are looking to gain promotion from Division Nine West.
The high demands follow the club’s first committee meeting since the appointment of the new chairman and vice-chairman Greg Street — who has stepped away from a playing role with the seconds.
Dovaston said: “We are looking for all three teams to do as well as possible, and we think that could be promotion.
“We want all our teams to play at the highest level we can, and we’re in a strong position at the moment.
“We haven’t lost any players, in fact we’ve gained some, so we are feeling very positive about bouncing right back to Division One.
“There is a really positive vibe in the club actually, the atmosphere and spirit is high, we’re in a great place despite being demoted from the top league.
“So what we’re looking to develop this year is the progression from youth cricket to first team cricket — and that will take promotion for everyone.
“If there’s less of a gap between each team and the level they play at, then it’s easier to move up.”
He said the club had more than 70 children involved at the youth level who could, one day, play for the senior side if they kept them interested — and playing in as high a league as possible was important to this.
He said: “We want to make our home ground a fortress, and make it a really attractive prospect to represent the First XI.
“We have so much support and we get really good crowds, so there’s a lot of community spirit about already.
“There’s great values and fairness that comes from the game and a lot of people, parents especially, like this.
“And we also have a lot of really positive people that inspire the kids too.”