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Game time proved vital for Haverhill’s next big test

Haverhill Rugby Club's' head coach Martin Hughes
Haverhill Rugby Club's' head coach Martin Hughes

Haverhill face the tough task of defeating second-placed Cantabridgians II when they return to league action on Saturday (2pm).

Head coach Martin Hughes takes his fourth-placed team to Cambridge hoping to close the gap on the top three in Greene King IPA Eastern Counties League Division Two West.

Haverhill were due to play their first league match of 2015 on Saturday, but scheduled opponents Shelford IV withdrew from the match, citing a lack of players, to hand Haverhill five points for the win without even kicking a ball.

Instead, Haverhill managed to fix up a friendly at Ely Development, who are top of Division Three.

Despite going down to a 15-13 defeat, the match gave Haverhill the opportunity to give run-outs to a mixture of first and second XV players.

Had Haverhill not played Ely, they would have been going into the Cantabs match bereft of any competitive pitch time for five weeks.

The importance of the match was not lost on Haverhill vice-chairman, David Halsey, who said: “The last game before that was December 13. It was nearly a month, so we needed something to give everyone a run out.

“We had to make sure we were fresh for when we restarted the league campaign.

“It (Cantabs) is going to be a tough game for us. They are strong side.”

Before last Saturday’s 33-10 defeat at Bury St Edmunds III, Cantabs were top of the table with just one league defeat all season, but the loss saw them drop down to second place.