Steve Bowak always kept the faith, despite Haverhill Rugby Club’s failure to win a game this season — until now, writes Hannah Dolman.
The head coach was certain the Eastern Counties One side would not finish the season without tasting victory, but admitted they left it late with Saturday’s 34-15 home win over Mistley in the Salver tournament.
The club have only two fixtures remaining this season but Bowak said: “Better late than never.
“I did say we would win one, didn’t I? And I continued to believe we would do it, but it’s incredible to actually achieve the aim.
“A bit of doubt definitely had come into play though, of course it did, but I also knew we were improving game by game as we learned and just came together as a team.
“We were putting in some good performances, especially when we had a full squad available, and I knew it was going to happen at some point.”
The win also saw them claim a try scoring bonus point after they touched down four times during the match.
Adam Hunt, Stuart Hunt and Patrick Brodie all crossed the line for Haverhill in a ‘top’ performance from the squad.
Bowak singled fly-half Adam out as the ‘player that made the difference’ while also claiming George Foley was ‘excellent’.
He said the win came weeks after the club had agreed an informal partnership with Mildenhall Rugby Club, to help each other with numbers on match days.
Bowak said: “It hopefully means we will be able to fulfil more fixtures and even look at getting second teams running again.”
He said this hope had been ignited after victory over Mistley, with 25 players at his disposal.
“Everything came together on the day, partly because we had that player availability too.
“We were winning at half-time even, but I wasn’t happy as I felt they were being lazy in defence.
“We gave them too much time on the ball and so it was by no means a perfect performance.
“There’s still plenty to work on in training but, overall, it was a really good game, really good result and all round great day.”
He said it was ‘fitting’ that the club’s first victory in the 2017/18 campaign came on the final vice president day for David Quinney, a long-time supporter of the club.
Bowak said the win was crucial in ‘keeping the players interested and involved’, particularly after a long, hard season with very few rewards.
“There’s still a very good spirit in the club,” he said. “And it’s been a tough season, we always knew it would be, it’s what happens at this level when you have to rebuild.
“We’ve been working on it and I think the win shows that. The smiles on the guys’ faces afterwards was amazing, it meant so much and so I told them to remember that feeling.
“They’ve proved to themselves they can win, so now we want to build on that Saturday.”
Haverhill are away to Stowmarket II (3pm).