Haverhill skipper refuses to lose the faith
In the aftermath of another batting collapse, Haverhill have opted to stick by the same players and give them a chance to put it right.
Although promotion from Division Two of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship is still very much a possibility, fourth-placed Haverhill’s demise from 32-0 to 114 all out at league leaders Copford had worrying echoes of their performance two weeks earlier at another promotion rival, Easton, who bowled them out for 109.
Haverhill skipper Joe Woodley and the rest of the selection committee have opted to stick by the same XI that lost at Copford, with the exception being Joey Kettle, dropping out to accommodate key all-rounder Dan Poole, who was unavailable last week.
Woodley knows the team will need to get back to winning ways at home to fifth-bottom Lakenheath on Saturday (1pm), to maintain the pressure on the top three, but feels the same team needs to get the chance to show what they can do.
He said: “I stuck by the team at the start of the year and I’m going to stick by them now.
“We made too many changes last year and I think we’ve got a nice bond in this team.
“Really at the moment, and I know it’s a cliché, but we are trying to take it one game at a time. At the moment we are not really good enough to be looking too far ahead.
“We need to focus on this game instead of looking at the bigger picture. It’s just about beating Lakenheath. We need to get back on track and not look too far forwards.”
There were some plus points to come out of the Copford match for Haverhill, not least of all the impact of off spinner Callum Brunning and slow left arm bowler Ben Wilkins.
Brunning, 18, was particularly outstanding in taking 6-64 in 15 overs, a performance that has seen him move up to fourth in the Division Two wicket takers’ list (skipper Woodley is also in the top 10).
Also impressing at Copford was 17-year-old seamer Will Bailey, who in just his third match for the first team top scored at number nine with 25 and claimed his first Division Two wicket when having opener Tom Sinclair (then averaging 56 per innings) caught at slip for nought in a spell of 1-18 in six overs.
Woodley said of Bailey: “He is a big bonus for the team but we need to be sure we are looking after him as well.
“He has been doing it for the midweek team and Sunday first team. He doesn’t get five or six wickets but he does get the main batsmen out.
“He’s got a habit of taking out the best batsmen, which is a nice habit.”