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New captain Liam Botten outlines ambition to make Haverhill a Two Counties Championship Division One promotion contender in the next three years

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New captain Liam Botten has outlined his plans to turn Haverhill into promotion contenders in Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One within the next three years, writes Alex Moss.

The 31-year-old was officially appointed as the first team’s new skipper this week, replacing Anthony Phillips, who has stepped down after one season in the role.

Phillips guided Haverhill to their second highest-ever finish in the Two Counties Championship’s top flight last year, as the Manor Road club ended in eighth place.

Liam Botten was unveiled as Haverhill’s new first-team captain at the club’s AGM earlier this week
Liam Botten was unveiled as Haverhill’s new first-team captain at the club’s AGM earlier this week

And Botten, who made 22 appearances for the club in 2019, covering the first, second and T20 teams, is keen to help continue Haverhill’s progress, with a future goal of taking the club into the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League (EAPL) for the first time.

“I’ve got a three-year plan,” Botten said. “In three years time I want the club to be challenging for promotion to the EAPL.

“Being the captain at Haverhill is a role I’ve been wanting to take on for a couple of years now.

“I’ve been associated with Haverhill Cricket Club since the age of 15 or 16.

“I haven’t always been able to play week in, week out, but now is the right time for myself to take over.

“And playing at this level, at my age, I can bring experience to the team, along with the players I’m looking to bring in.”

Botten has been quick to make his first signings as captain, with the return of all-rounder Dan Poole, a recent two-time winner of the EAPL with Sudbury, as vice captain.

Former first-team captain Joe Woodley is also back at the club, in a non-playing senior team advisory role. And Botten is hopeful of securing the signature of another familiar face before the 2020 season starts in April.

“It’s about bringing consistency to the team,” he said. “You look at last year, winning the first five games and then going five, six or seven games without getting a win.

“During that time there wasn’t a settled team, so by bringing in more experienced players like Dan, it will help us be more consistent.”

Away from the first team, Botten also wants to bring a closer connection between the club’s senior and junior sections, with his three-year plan also targetting stability for the seconds in Division Three and a climb into Division Six for the thirds.

Meanwhile, Haverhill’s vice chairman, Greg Street, confirmed Phil Dingley and Kevin Austin would be continuing in their roles as captains of the second and third teams this year.