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Darryl Tate on Haverhill Borough facing Thurlow Nunn League First Division North leaders Heacham this weekend

Darryl Tate is confident Haverhill Borough will provide a tougher test for Heacham when the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North leaders come to town this weekend.

The two sides met back in August with newly-promoted Heacham, who were champions of last season’s Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Premier Division, running out 5-1 winners.

The Magpies have since gone on to rack up 38 points from their next 17 league games and return to Haverhill on Saturday (2pm) with a five-point lead at the top of the table.

Darryl Tate’s Haverhill Borough face league leaders Heacham this weekend Picture: Mecha Morton
Darryl Tate’s Haverhill Borough face league leaders Heacham this weekend Picture: Mecha Morton

“It’s going to be a massive test,” Borough boss Tate said. “We played them in our second game of the season and we didn’t really have the makings of a side back then.

“I’m confident we’ll be a different proposition for them this week.”

The venue for this weekend’s fixture has been switched, with Heacham conceding home advantage and it is being lined up for the grass pitch at the JR Crane Services Hub, The New Croft, as opposed to Borough’s 3G surface.

“It’s being played at our ground on the grass,” Tate said. “They could only do an early kick-off at their ground and we couldn’t do it as a lot of our youngsters work Saturday jobs in the mornings.

“It was agreed by the league to switch it to ours and to play on the grass so we’re not gaining an advantage.

“Obviously people will look at it and if we play on the 3G we’d get an unfair advantage because that’s what we play on.

=“Unless they agree to it (playing on the 3G) we’ll be playing on Rovers’ grass pitch.

“We’ve won two out of three there this year I think so we always enjoy playing there. It’s like a carpet!”

Borough were without a game last weekend and head into their penultimate game of 2022 sitting in 14th place in the First Division North table.

The weekend off allowed Tate some extra time to reflect on their 4-3 defeat at Harwich & Parkeston, which saw Borough relinquish a 3-0 half-time lead to lose to a side among those in the play-off hunt.

“The initial disappointment was huge,” he said. “That would have been a massive statement from us to go there and win.

“I still think it’s a step forward for us. These are the games that you see where you’re at. We’re building together with next season in mind and it’s all coming together slowly.

“There was so many positives to take from the game against Harwich. The way we played and the way we approached the game against a really good side who are on a good unbeaten run.

“We took them apart in the first half and unfortunately they raised their game, which I thought they would, and experience has cost us.

“It was our lack of experience and there was a big crowd behind them. We couldn’t hold out, but we shouldn’t have lost.

“It’s a massive learning curve and it’s something they have to go through. It can happen when you’ve got a young side and you’re up against predominantly experienced players.

“We can take massive positives from the way we’re playing and the way we’re creating. The football we’re playing is really good.”

Up into the Premier Division, bottom side Haverhill Rovers saw last Saturday’s home clash with Kirkley & Pakefield postponed.

Marc Benterman’s men will now be looking to reignite their push for safety when they make the trip to Norwich United (9th) this Saturday (3pm).

In the Cambridgeshire County League CSI Premier Division, leaders West Wratting bounced back to winning ways with a 4-1 victory away at Newmarket Town Reserves on Saturday.

A brace from Rafal Wozniak, along with goals from Mark Lovell and Luke Haines, sealed a victory for Wratting which helped them move six points clear at the top.

Lee Miller’s title chasers entertain fifth-placed Witchford 96 for their final home game of 2022 on Saturday (2pm).