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Haverhill seconds up their target

Haverhill II's top scorer Elaine Ward in action against Newmarket II.
Haverhill II's top scorer Elaine Ward in action against Newmarket II.

Modest goals set at the start of the season by Haverhill Hockey Club’s second XI have had to be revised after a dramatically impressive run of form.

The team were relegated last season from the East League Division Three North West (South) and before their Division Four North West (South) campaign began they set their sights on a safe mid-table position.

After an amazing run of 12 wins from 12, they now sit at the top of the division, eight points clear of Newmarket II.

Just as impressively, they have not conceded a goal since a 3-2 win over Newmarket II on October 4, nine weeks and nine matches ago and has conceded just three goals in total this campaign.

Nicole Bailey, who is now in her third season as the team’s captain, said: “We didn’t really know how strong the competition would be.

“We were hoping we would be mid-table and stay mid-table and develop our younger side.

“We wanted to be mid-table, but now it’s like, we are going to go up and we want to continue it.”

Haverhill II’s impressive results this term have been aided by them being able to field a consistent side each week.

Another key factor is the form of Elaine Ward, who had retired in the summer, but following a request to help out at the start of the season when the team were short of players has proved to be a revelation in her reincarnation as a striker.

She has contributed a large slice of the side’s 66 goals plundered this season, although the goal-scoring form of Emily Page-Blair has also caught the eye.

The miserliness of the defence has largely come about, said Bailey, from playing teams this season that are less attacking, allowing defenders to play a higher line and restrict opponents’ space.

With third-placed St Neots coming to Haverhill Leisure Centre on Saturday (3pm), Bailey said: “We do want to go up, we just know that next year it’s going to be a bit tougher than it has been this year.”

Haverhill’s first team, whose match last Saturday at home to Cambridge South was postponed are away at St Ives II (11am).