New head coach takes over at Haverhill Rugby Club after Jeffs resigns

Jake Jeffs in action for Haverhill Rugby Club's first team
Jake Jeffs in action for Haverhill Rugby Club's first team

Haverhill Rugby Club has moved swiftly to fill the gap left by Jake Jeffs after he resigned as head coach.

The experienced fly half stood down from the role last week and has been replaced by Martyn Hughes, although he will remain available as a player.

The club’s chairman of the playing side, Dave Halsey, said: “He just felt it was something he couldn’t do any more, with the number of people that were turning up at training.

“It was the same old story, the number of people that were able to turn up, because of their family and work commitments, was not very much.

“He took the decision that he was going to resign as head coach, which is disappointing.”

Hughes, another experienced number ten who only joined Haverhill from Newmarket in the summer, has taken up the reins.

He is currently working towards gaining his level one coaching qualification and has already been working alongside Jeffs in a coaching position, making the transition more smooth than turbulent.

Halsey added: “Martyn Hughes has taken over the coaching now. He is going to be responsible for training sessions and also during the game warm ups when he is available, and Tony Hope is coming back to assist him on game days.

“Martyn is experienced as well. He doesn’t want to play so much rugby. He wants to coach more of the time.”

As long as Jeffs is available, said Halsey, he will still be part of the first team squad.

Haverhill has strengthened its first team squad with the addition of fly half and goal kicker Chancy Mulama, who made an impressive debut in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Norwich Medics.

Mulama has international experience, having played sevens for his native Zambia, and has already had a taste of rugby at another Suffolk club.

Halsey said: “He left Bury St Edmunds in 2009 and he returned back to Zambia and came back to the UK last year.

“He has got family here in the UK, his wife is English and he currently is trying to get citizenship.

“He was very hesitant about coming back but he has said he was made to feel very welcome by us.”

The initial plan, explained Halsey, was to trial Mulama for something like 20 minutes in the match at Norwich Medics, but circumstances led to him playing the whole game.

In a very low scoring draw his impact was almost a dramatic one as two attempted drop-goals only missed by a whisker.

Halsey said of Mulama: “At the end of the day he really enjoyed it.

“He has got a good rugby head on him. It showed in the game on Saturday.

“There were opportunities where he was trying little kicks to see what they would do and he was responding to them.

“Certainly to the rest of the guys in the backs, he gave a good impression.

“Going forward it’s good news, his experience and what he can bring to the team is the positive thing for us.

“In 2009 he was something like eighth or ninth highest scorer in the league that Bury were playing in so from our point of view if he can get back to that kind of form we will be happy.”

Haverhill continue their Greene King IPA Eastern Counties Division Two campaign on Saturday with a home game against Mistley (2pm), who they beat 39-3 in the Suffolk Shield just eight weeks ago.

Halsey expects to field the same team that lined up against Norwich Medics, although full back Mike Woods, who was forced to go off in that match with head injury, is a doubt.