Haverhill reach Suffolk Plate semi-finals

ESSEX League One Clacton started well and Haverhill were 5-0 down after minutes.

From the restart, Haverhill attacked and an excellent chip kick from outside-centre Jack Wilkinson was almost touched down, but led to a 22-metre drop out for Clacton.

On 10 minutes, a speculative kick from Clacton was not gathered by Joe Brown and this was seized on, Clacton scoring again, making the score 10-0.

At 13 minutes, a great break from the back of the scrum by Potter led to a 30-metre incursion into the opposition half but the superbly-timed pass for a certain try was spilled in the wet conditions.

From the scrum, Haverhill won a free kick and then a penalty in front of the posts which was taken quickly and quick hands through the line released Mike Woods in the corner for 10-5 on 15 minutes. The Stuart Newman kick was wide of the mark.

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Haverhill were performing well in the scrum with the strong front row of Alex Hieatt, Paul Bergin and Dave Quinney overturning ball on a regular basis. Harry Marsh and the ever-young Carl Anderson were causing problems for Clacton in their lineout, winning ball against the throw at will.

On 26 minutes, Marsh caught and set line-out ball leading to a superb rolling maul from Haverhill 40 metres up field, only to break down 10 metres from the Clacton line.

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As Haverhill continued to camp in the Clacton half, desperate measures were required by the visitors to stop further scoring and their loose head prop was yellow-carded on 38 minutes for a dangerously high tackle.

Haverhill chose the scrum and Potter slipped out the back and crossed the line for 10-10. The Lansdowne conversion hit the post and the whistle for half-time sounded.

Haverhill started strongly in the second half and overturned a scrum, but tried to be too clever and got caught 25 metres out for a kick in front of the posts. The good news for Haverhill was that Clacton had left their kicker at home and the attempt was closer to the flag than the posts, but it served as a warning to Haverhill to keep their discipline.

On 50 minutes, Clacton broke through the Haverhill line and a certain score looked on, but another superb tackle from man of the match full-back Woods halted the move dead.

On 55 minutes, there was a great opportunity to take three points by Haverhill, but they choose the scrum 25 metres out.

Some good cross-field play, saw Hieatt, Potter and Flannery all make hard yards until the ball was spun to the storming Lansdowne who crashed over the line for 15-10.

Newman took the kick and stroked the ball between the posts for 17-10. Two very important points that proved decisive in the game.

Clacton pushed hard and finally crossed into the Haverhill half. Sustained pressure finally saw the Haverhill line break and the big Clacton prop score in the corner for 17-15 on 67 minutes.

Clacton continued to spoil Haverhill ball with professional fouls which, with four minutes on the clock led to a yellow card for the Clacton No8. His response to the referee earned him a red card as he left the field.

In the last play, Clacton crossed into the Haverhill half, but the referee gave the penalty and allowed Newman to kick to touch and Haverhill celebrated a great win.

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