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Haverhill & District's tough December will hopefully make way for a more positive January and beyond



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It has been a frustrating December so far for Haverhill & District but ahead of 2021’s concluding game against the league leaders, captain Zac Evans is confident they should fear no-one at their new level.

Further availability issues led to them having to field a bare 15 for a second week running in Greene King IPA Eastern Counties 1 West for the trip to Bury St Edmunds III on Saturday.

And like at home to Shelford III the previous weekend, an injury once again left them playing with one light.

Match action from Haverhill's match at Bury St Edmunds III last weekend. Picture: Mecha Morton
Match action from Haverhill's match at Bury St Edmunds III last weekend. Picture: Mecha Morton

But while they were still left with a bonus point in a 29-22 defeat to Shelford, having led at half-time, they were fully punished on Saturday. With the scoreline 52-5, third-from-bottom Haverhill opted to prematurely end the game.

“Unfortunately it was very, very similar to the game the week before in terms of lack of numbers,” said Evans. “Again we went over there with 15 men and as soon as one goes down you are down to 14 men.

“We ended up having to call the game early as I didn’t want to get any other injuries for this week.

Match action from Haverhill's match at Bury St Edmunds III last weekend. Picture: Mecha Morton
Match action from Haverhill's match at Bury St Edmunds III last weekend. Picture: Mecha Morton

“It was a frustrating result again as I genuinely believe there isn’t anyone we couldn’t beat in this league with our full squad out.

“But it is just, at the moment, getting that full squad out is genuinely our issue.”

Things have not been helped ahead of Saturday’s visit of leaders Cambridge III (2pm) with one of the team from last weekend subsequently testing positive for Covid-19, though results show it has been an isolated case.

Evans, whose side ended up playing a friendly against Cambridge III in the reverse fixture on October 30 due to a lack of available players, said there is cause for optimism on increasing their player base in the new year.

Match action from Haverhill's match at Bury St Edmunds III last weekend. Picture: Mecha Morton
Match action from Haverhill's match at Bury St Edmunds III last weekend. Picture: Mecha Morton

“We’ve got an influx of Colts (under-18s) which will be coming in from January, which is positive,” he said.

“Three of them have already turned 18 and have actually had a couple of games for us.

“They look really, really promising players so it is quite exciting in that sense as we will be able to bolster the team and have competition for places which is ultimately what you need.”

Harry Capon, Lewis Darlington and Kai Rintoul are the aforementioned players who have already fed through from the newly established Colts set-up.

Match action from Haverhill's match at Bury St Edmunds III last weekend. Picture: Mecha Morton
Match action from Haverhill's match at Bury St Edmunds III last weekend. Picture: Mecha Morton

Haverhill, who took up the offer of a second promotion place ahead of this season, will still have two matches to play when they return on January 8 in the first phase of the season.

As with their previous league, 2 West, teams will then be split into two team pairs of descending positions with the other regional divisions to form second phase competitions. It is from these that promotion and relegation will be decided.

Of Saturday’s game, Evans said: “Cambridge III is going to be a challenging game.

“We do have one missing with Covid and a couple of others are not prepared to play, which is understandable when you are going to visit your grandparents in less than a week. It could be another struggle but it will be interesting to see how it goes.”