Haverhill derby dominates local game
Imagine you’re a jockey – bear with me, there’s a point to this – in the Grand National and you’re well up in the race...until the final fence, when you’re unseated and your race is over. After all that effort, your face ends up in the dirt and you have nothing to show for it anyway.
That is the best metaphor we could come up with for Haverhill Rovers’ first two games. Pitted against two of three title favourites in Histon and Godmanchester Rovers within the first four days of the season (Stowmarket being the other), Rovers will come away having won many plaudits but with not a goal or point to show for it.
Two goals down early on against Histon, they came back and, for long periods of the first half, were more than equal.
At times it seemed like Histon striker Ed Rolph had personally offended Rovers goalkeeper James Philp as he repeatedly and impressively kept the striker at bay.
Unfortunately for Rovers, a third goal killed them off. Subsequently, Rafa Wozniak decided to chase the ball all around the pitch like we all used to do at primary school, Rovers tired, and a fourth goal followed.
And, last night at The New Croft, it was the two goalkeepers who were the story with Philp beaten only once as Rovers went down 1-0. Opponents Godmanchester Rovers, with ex-Borough man Niall Conroy in goal, were frustrated as Philp made a Gordon Banks-like save.
Haverhill Borough were in competitive action for the first time last night and, clearly their penchant for topsy turvy games has not worn off, as they were narrowly beaten 3-2 at Cornard United.
When this squad gels, though, Borough should be difficult to beat.
And, of course, the Haverhill derby returns on Saturday. It feels like a lifetime ago that the teams last met, on that post Christmas night in December.
Tensions have risen and receded, and the potential Borough exodus to Rovers never happened, but you still feel that this is somewhat more of a grudge match than a friendly, feel good, two clubs one town story that the visiting BBC might wish to portray.
It is difficult to look beyond a Rovers victory, but then it always has been, and the overall total still stands at Borough 2-1 Rovers, so we shall see.
The game will be shown online; with millions expected to tune in, this could top England’s semi-final in terms of live sporting events this year.
Lakenheath began with a bang on Saturday, Kelvin Enaro showcasing the quality that made so many surprised to see him run off to Senior A last year, as he notched a double to help Ben Cowling’s men to a maiden 3-2 away victory at Step 6.
Linton and West Wratting begin their campaigns next week as the county league finally gets under way and, judging on last season, literally anything could happen.
The reigning champions have lost players and are a bit of an unknown now.
See you next week…