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Haverhill Cricket Club chairman Joe Woodley wants to embed new culture at Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Cricket Championship Division Two outfit

New Haverhill CC chairman Joe Woodley says he ‘wants to get the club back to what it used to be’ and change its culture, after he admitted the Manor Road outfit ‘accepts mediocrity’.

After being elected as chairman at the club’s AGM in January, Woodley took over from Rob Dovaston who stepped down from his position for personal reasons.

Woodley, who has been vice chairman for two seasons, works in school improvement and stated he is going to treat the club like an organisation that needs a kick-start.

Joe Woodley has been appointed as the new Haverhill chairman Picture: Mecha Morton
Joe Woodley has been appointed as the new Haverhill chairman Picture: Mecha Morton

“It might take me a year, 10 years or I might not ever do it, but my aim is to build that culture back into this club to have pride for the badge. The club will be judged and our first team needs to be back playing Division One cricket,” said Woodley, the club’s highest wicket-taker since its reformation in the 1980s.

“I want to get the club back to what it used to be. Training used to be cut-throat, competition for first-team places was brutal and I want that back.

“We need to get fitter and we need to work on fielding a lot better, we’ve not been great for the last 10-15 years on this.

“I think over the last few years, usually our training sessions have been a bit ‘turn up and go through the motions’. Again, treating it like a job, we need to be better and people need to come with an attitude of ‘I want to get better’.

“We’re investing our lives, precious family time and money into playing. You may as well give your absolute best while you’re there, that’s what I always did when I played.”

The club survived relegation from the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Cricket Championship Division Two on the final day of last season, but Woodley revealed that performances on the pitch ‘might get worse before they get better’.

He wants to start improving life off the field first, which includes: sourcing money for some irrigation on the outfield, a scoreboard to make the ground more appealing, improving the nets which have ‘fallen into a state of disrepair’, provide kits for the ladies team and and take the youth section to the next level.

Woodley sees making new signings and improving the cohort as part of a five-to-10-year plan.

“It’s a massive time for the club, I’m really excited. We’ve got some massive things in the pipeline that are going to take us to the next level,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve stagnated over the last few years, but there’s a few things we need to improve on and it’s now time to start acting on them.

“The biggest thing for us over the last 10 years has been the perception of the club in the town. I think obviously we’re a football and working-class town, and cricket is perceived as a bit of a boring,

middle-class wealthy sport, and it’s about breaking that concept


“Numbers of fans have dwindled in the last few years and it’s about beating back those perceptions and giving people and kids access to the sport.

“The culture is there. We’re not in the dumps, Rob’s left it in a good position, but I think we’re coasting. I think we accept mediocrity and, for me, I don’t accept mediocrity in any walk of life. Our goal is to raise aspirations, our goal is to build that culture of success and achievement.”

Woodley also wants to raise as much money as possible to help improve the facilities at the club. He has set up a CrowdFunder page to fund new nets, which are more than 10 years old and in need of repairs.