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Haverhill Rugby Club hoping to start 2020/21 season in October




Zac Evans is hopeful Haverhill can kick off their 2020/21 campaign in October to get a full set of fixtures in after the RFU laid out three date windows and competition models.

A provisional start date of October 10 is the governing body’s best case scenario for teams at level 6 in the pyramid and below.

If the season starts then, Haverhill could still play all their home and away matches in Eastern Counties Greene King 1 West, which they were promoted to at the end of last season.

Haverhill Rugby Club players take part in socially distanced small group training (38054711)
Haverhill Rugby Club players take part in socially distanced small group training (38054711)

The RFU’s two other dates for resumption are November 28 and, worst case scenario, February 6.

Starting on either of those dates would mean a reduced fixture list. In the Eastern Counties League set-up this could mean scrapping the phase two part of the season where the regionalised sections qualify for different competitions to play similar record teams with some competing for promotion and relegation.

Club captain Evans, whose side have been taking part in non-contact training in groups of up to six for a month now, said: “We have all got our fingers crossed for October so we can play a full amount of fixtures.

Haverhill Rugby Club players take part in socially distanced small group training (38054707)
Haverhill Rugby Club players take part in socially distanced small group training (38054707)

“Training has been going really well and the numbers have picked up massively since last year.

“Whether we can sustain that going into the season, I don’t know.

“Due to the uptake we have been doing two sessions a week instead of one, which we did last year.

“We are still seeing 20 to 30 players in each session which is good, especially for running a second team as well this season.

Haverhill Rugby Club players take part in socially distanced small group training (38054709)
Haverhill Rugby Club players take part in socially distanced small group training (38054709)

“I know all the boys are raring to go and we are now just waiting for the next stage before we can up the ante with training.”

The 2nd XV will compete in one of the EC3 regionalised divisions.

There had been some questions asked during their committee meeting about the value of returning to training with no matches yet on the horizon and no contact allowed. But Evans is pleased they made the decision they did.

“It is difficult not doing contact but it has been better than I thought it would be as it is just nice to get all the boys together,” he said.

“We are still able to run through some moves and get the ball going through hands. But the main thing is having that camaraderie and banter again to keep that team spirit alive. I think that is why we were so successful last season. It is now about keeping that buzz going as best as we can.”

Haverhill, second when the season was curtailed due to Covid-19, were promoted along with leaders Mildenhall & Red Lodge.