Haverhill Cricket Club remain top of Two Counties' Division One table despite defeat to reigning champions Worlington
Despite a first league defeat in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, Haverhill remain 11 points clear of their nearest rivals in Division One.
Haverhill (253-9) fell to a 49-run defeat at home to Worlington (302-5) last Saturday to return four wins and one loss from their opening five games.
They will have a chance to return to winning ways, while also consolidating their league-topping form on Saturday, as they travel to second-placed Wivenhoe Town (1pm).
“We were never going to go through the season unbeaten,” vice-chairman Greg Street said. “So defeat to last season’s champions is nothing to be ashamed of.
“The key thing is to not get beaten badly, bonus points are crucial and can be the difference between winning a title at one end of the table and avoiding relegation at the other.
“Worlington had their strongest side and we only just came up short, obviously it’s a game of fine margins and there was a dropped catch, but a game is not one or lost on just one thing, we had other opportunities.
“Raj (Singh) was unavailable to bowl as he has torn his tricep and we missed him to be honest, his bowling has been decisive.
“Hopefully he will be able to bowl this weekend, but I’m just not sure.”
Haverhill’s bowlers struggled to topple Worly’s batsmen, with a second-wicket partnership of 97 runs doing extensive damage as the visitors amassed 302 runs for the loss of five wickets.
Simon Nicholson picked up his 12th wicket of the season, from four bowling performances, to take 36 percent of the team’s wickets so far. Skipper Anthony Phillips (2-58) and James Boulton (1-38) took the others.
In reply, Haverhill put on a 75-run first wicket to give hope of catching the total, but a second and third wicket collapse left them on 81-3.
Adam Dellar (71) and Mark Barrell (20) steadied things, but the side ran out of overs as they came up 49 runs short.
l Meanwhile, Ben Wilkins will captain the Twenty20 team to enter the new Suffolk Plate competition, for clubs competing in Division Four and below of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, which begins on bank holiday Monday.
Street said it was a ‘great opportunity’ for Wilkins to gain experience in the role as he takes it on for the first ever time at home to Bardwell T20 on Monday (11.30am).
Haverhill are the only side to enter a team in both the Suffolk Cup, as reigning champions, and the Suffolk Plate.