Title chase takes a dramatic turn
Saturday’s trip to third-placed Braintree is a ‘must-win’ match for Haverhill Cricket Club in their hunt for the Division Two title, according to former captain Adam Dellar.
His warnings follow the side’s 21-run loss at Clacton-on-Sea in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship last weekend, as they dropped behind Lakenheath with just five fixtures remaining.
Dellar admitted the side were now in ‘a bit of a scrap’ for the two promotion spots available as it had become a three-horse race with only 12 points separating first from third in the table.
He said: “Nine games in we were flying and that momentum’s gone now.
“There’s three teams in it, fighting over two places and we have let that happen.
“We’re in a bit of a scrap if we want that title and Braintree is a crucial game.
“We need to show more grit and determination than we have in the second half of the season.
“It’s the biggest game left for us now and it’s a must-win.”
It is not the first time the club have left it late in the season to achieve their goals, with their fate last season coming down to a final game showdown (cancelled due to the rain).
Even if Haverhill win all their remaining fixtures, they are at the mercy of leaders Lakenheath in the chase for the title, but do remain in control over retaining the second spot and guaranteeing promotion back to the championship’s top level.
“It’s disappointing to have put ourselves in this position,” Dellar added.
“We haven’t hidden our desire to win the division, we know we are a very capable side and believe we are a Division One team.
“We need to prove that over the next five games.
“And we won’t do that if we don’t tighten it all up a bit more. We were lacklustre in the field and dropped a couple of catches against Clacton and it cost us.”
Haverhill won the toss and elected to field first.
At 12-2, the visitors had their tails up and felt vindicated by the decision, but a mid-order resistance from Harlan Greig (53), Imran Sheik (56) and Mohammad Badrul Alom Chowdury (62) salvaged a 220 run target from Clacton.
Mark Barrell returned a five-wicket haul for just 35 runs as he enjoyed his best bowling figures of the season, helped by two wickets for Dan Pass, two for Callum Brunning and one for Oliver North.
At the crease, only three Haverhill batsmen were dismissed on single figures as the side produced a solid batting display – with Luke Youngs top-scoring with 56 runs.
Despite this, they fell 21 runs short of their target as Greig helped himself to his own five-wicket haul when he disrupted the rhythm of the mid to tail end and forced the result.
Dellar said: “We lost the momentum and lost wickets at bad times.
“Compliments to Clacton though, as their bowlers did really well, they never really gave us a chance to settle down.”