Cup glory beckons for Boro
It has already been a season of firsts for Haverhill Borough but there are still more to come — including their first ever match in the Omni Freight Services Suffolk Premier Cup next week.
The New Croft side were promoted to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division for 2017/18 and are taking part in their inaugural season at that level.
The club are, therefore, eligible to enter the competition open to all clubs at Step 5 and above for the first time in their history.
But manager Anthony Choat said there is nothing riding on it, and he hopes his players can relax and enjoy the experience.
He knows it will not be plain sailing in a competition where they are among the lowest ranked teams, and their first challenge is to take on the might of Step 4 side AFC Sudbury in the first round on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Borough, who will be playing in the competition for the first time, will face AFC Sudbury in one of two first-round ties — the other seeing Ipswich Town Under-23s defeat Long Melford in a clash at Stoneylands last week.
Choat said: “We’ve already been in this position this season, with our FA Cup experience and our game against Kings Langley (Borough lost it 8-0).
“We didn’t take that opportunity, but we have another chance to have a go at a giant killing.
“It’s not going to be easy and it’s quite a challenge, but if we turn up on the day and play well, anything can happen.
“I’ve told the boys to, ultimately, go out there and enjoy themselves.
“But also to test themselves against some really good players. We don’t get the chance to learn and play against clubs at this level often.
“And if we want to continue to grow and develop as a club, we need to make the most of the opportunities when they are there.”
He added that the fixture will also be a big step for the club and, when the players walk out on to the pitch at the King’s Marsh Stadium, it will be to join the ranks of this level of the game.
“It will be a proud moment for the club when we walk out on to the pitch,” Choat said.
“Taking part in this competition shows how far we have come as a club, to be playing opponents at this level.
“We could have won the Suffolk Senior Cup last year, we weren’t far away, and so showed we were ready for the next level, we showed we deserve to play at this level.
“A win would, of course, be amazing but we know it’s a really high standard.”
The winner of the tie between AFC Sudbury and Borough will be at home to holders and current Bostik League Premier Division side Needham Market in the next round.
Second round ties will be played on either Tuesday, November 14 or Wednesday, November 15 at 7.45pm.