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Haverhill Hockey club prepared for new season after double reprieve from relegation

Haverhill Hockey Club are determined to make the most of their relegation reprieve, according to Tina Bunch, as they prepare for the new season in the restructured East Women’s Hockey League.

The club chair said she had been ‘shocked but delighted’ to find out the the first team had been placed in newly-created Division 3S, moving sideways from Division 3NW rather than the expected drop to the fourth level of the league pyramid.

The second team also escaped relegation and will continue to compete in Division 4NW(S), with both teams getting under way on the road on Saturday.

HOCKEY - Haverhill v Bury Ladies II....PICTURE: Mecha Morton... (16767959)
HOCKEY - Haverhill v Bury Ladies II....PICTURE: Mecha Morton... (16767959)

The first team are away to Hertford (3pm) while the second team are away to Shefford & Sandy II (10am).

Bunch said: “It was quite shocking to find out we’d escaped double relegation but we’re delighted all the same.

“It gives us a chance to try again at this level and it’s better for the experience levels of our younger players too.

“It was a tough season last year, we struggled for availability and we were losing week in week out, so we’re obviously keen that doesn’t happen again – we will have some senior players back this season and more regular availability to help us with that.

“I’m optimistic about the start of the season, it would be a real boost to get off to a good start and experience scoring some goals and just getting some results, they were hard to come by last season.”

Both the first and second strings tasted victory just twice last term, to leave them both just one place off the bottom of their respective tables.

“There were some positives though,” Bunch added. “We beat Bury – who would have won the league if it weren’t for Saffron Walden – and they’re a very good side.

“So we know we can do it, we know we have the ability to beat anyone in the league when we’re at our best.

“But we need the availability on a regular basis, we need to be able to play the same team from week to week to develop and discover our best performances.

“If we can get that, we can still compete at the top level of both divisions.

“And who knows what could happen at the end of this season regarding league restructure and relegation, so we’re not worrying about targets.”