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Haverhill cricket's third string's winning form returns as promotion chances rise

Haverhill IIIs have taken a ‘very important’ step towards securing promotion in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship in just their third season since forming.

The Division Nine West side (230-6) beat Nowton II (120) by 110-runs at Overway Meadow on Saturday to maintain a 13-point gap at the top of the league, with five fixtures remaining.

They set a target of winning the league before the first ball had been bowled – with just one team promoted to Division Eight – and remained unbeaten for the first half of the season.

NOWTON: Cricket - Nowton II v Haverhill III .Nowton Cricket Club, Bury Saint Edmunds Paddy Meadows Haverhill batsman 100Picture by Mark Westley. (14099593)
NOWTON: Cricket - Nowton II v Haverhill III .Nowton Cricket Club, Bury Saint Edmunds Paddy Meadows Haverhill batsman 100Picture by Mark Westley. (14099593)

Their 110-run away victory to Nowton II on Saturday saw them remain on course to achieve this, having recovered from a wobble in form the week earlier as they suffered their first defeat.

Haverhill III captain Kevin Austin said the maiden century of Paddy Meadows (104) on Saturday was a ‘special moment’ as Haverhill III comfortably beat their hosts.

Meadows surpassed several milestones as he vastly improved his best knock from a previous top score of 30 runs.

“It was his first ever century, it was a special moment for him and vital to the win,” Austin said.

“It was very important to win after suffering our first defeat the week before, I said to the players that we couldn’t lose two in a row.

“And I think we put in our best performance of the season, we didn’t have any players from the seconds, it was all my players ­– so I feel good again now, my confidence in our chances are back.

“We are still top of the table with a brilliant chance of promotion; there are five games left and if we can win four of them, then I am very confident of winning the title, but I’m not taking anything for granted.”

Put in to bat first, Haverhill III got off to a solid start with Mick Franks (37) and Meadows, who hit his 104 off just 88 balls, keeping the scoreboard ticking.

Scott Bishop added 25 runs at number six as the visitors reached 230-6 in their 40 overs.

In reply, Nowton struggled for traction as Haverhill kept them from building a rhythm. Simon Hird took three wickets while Raja Abdul Moiz took two wickets for just three runs. Mick Franks also took two wickets with one apiece for Daniel Wallage and Anandu Variyan.

Haverhill III will host Elveden on Saturday (1pm).

* Meanwhile, in Division Three, Haverhill II (173-8) beat Mistley II (170-9) by two wickets on Saturday.

The result leaves them a mid-table seventh after 14 outings, with five wins, one draw, six defeats and two cancellations.

Marcus Richards (3-38) was pick of the bowlers while Trevor Rose (50) had the team’s best knock of the day as they went on to win.

They are away to basement side Ipswich & East Suffolk on Saturday (1pm).

* It looks likely there will be disappointment for Haverhill’s Suffolk Twenty20 Cup side, as they await confirmation of elimination at the group stage.

First team captain Anthony Phillips said Walsham-le-Willows had conceded their remaining double header matches and, if they were to do the same to Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill would fall short of enough points to progress from Pool A.

The reigning champions had been hopeful of reaching finals day for the third successive year.

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