Haverhill tried, tried and tried again in the weekend’s Suffolk Chadacre Cup quarter-final against Halstead Templars, but were unable to progress in the competition.
The Eastern Counties Greene King Division One West side lost 19-7 in a match described as a ‘war of attrition’, with two tries disallowed for the home team — both for second movements.
The weather was appalling, with the heavy rain foreboding the result for Haverhill, who were ‘very competitive’ but still fell short of their first win of the season.
Despite this, head coach Steve Bowak praised the commitment of his side and the hard work that, had the weather been better, would likely have seen three tries successfully scored.
“We were unlucky in a sense,” he said. “But that’s not to take away from the Templars who, on the day, got the better of us.
“On another day we could beat them, I’m pretty confident of that.
“And it was definitely the most competitive game we have played so far.
“I’m very happy with how it progressed, both teams made mistakes but that’s no wonder in the conditions.
“It was a game of attrition in a lot of ways, really hard going.
“I think the difference came in the defence though. I have to praise Halstead for their quality in the defensive line.
“They were so well drilled and organised and that was the main difference, we couldn’t break their line.”
In a game dominated by defence, it was Halstead who took every point they could get.
The first try was opportunistic, as a huge hit from Jordan Samuel on his opposite man knocked the ball loose, with centre Sam Edwards scoring an individual try which he then converted.
The second try came 10 minutes later for the Templars — sparked by some good hands between the backs and the forwards.
The Templars crossed the line once more but, from out wide, the conversion was unsuccessful to leave them with their final points — a score that proved enough.
Bowak said Haverhill twice crossed the line to score in response but the referee deemed them double movements — once a player goes to ground, they are only allowed one movement, plus momentum, towards the try line —before a converted consolation try in the final minutes.
He said on another day the side probably wouldn’t have made these errors, but it also showed how much more competitive the side have become.
“It sort of marks a better second half to the season now, we’ve had some players return to us and it shows,” he said.
“The second half of the season starts next Saturday (February 3) against Great Yarmouth-Broadland (2pm) and I think we can definitely take this performance forward.”
Halstead will host Mersea Island in the cup semi-final on February 24.