Haverhill & District Rugby Club have eyes on top four ahead of return to competitive action
After what will be 553 days on from their last competitive match, it is not surprising that Haverhill & District’s players are said to be ‘buzzing’ for this weekend’s 2021/22 season opener.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit rugby as hard as any outdoor sport due to its requirement for a high concentration of close contact.
But after several hopes for an earlier return failed, Haverhill’s men’s side will finally get going again when they travel across the Cambridgeshire border to face Cottenham Renegades on Saturday (3pm).
The match will be their first in Greene King IPA Eastern Counties 1 West since being promoted from Division 2 West following the 2019/20 campaign being abandoned in mid March with them in second place. Then leaders Mildenhall & Red Lodge, who will be the Steve Bowark-coached side’s first home opponents a week on Saturday, were also handed promotion.
Haverhill’s first game back will come at their new division’s champions last time out, but captain Zac Evans has high hopes they can more than make up the numbers.
“The whole team is absolutely buzzing to get going,” he said. “There was a friendly at the weekend (at home to Writtle) to give us a benchmark of where we are at and with it being a friendly it allowed us to try a few things out.
“But the Cottenham game is everything we have been training throughout the pandemic for.
“We appreciate it is going to be a step up, having been promoted, but the boys are ready for the challenge and have been helping to recruit some new players.
“We want to stay at the level but for us to continue playing very competitive rugby after Christmas we need to finish in the top four, so that is the target.”
Similar to their previous level, the league table is split following two rounds of matches in January, following the resumption after the festive break. But instead of pairing off in twos with other regional divisions, it is done as top four and bottom four before amalgamating with North and South equivalents to form a separate competition from which promotion and relegation is then decided.
Evans is also excited about the impact of establishing a new Colts (under-18s) section for this season can have on the club going forwards.
“We have been trying to get a Colts team going for a while now and it is vital for the club going forward,” he said.
Shaun Norris is coaching the Colts, who are interested in increasing their player base. The team train on Wednesdays at 7pm. Evans is likewise keen to hear from any players looking for senior rugby with his side training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Alternatively, the club can be emailed at email@example.com