Haverhill withdraw from Eastern Counties league

ROCK bottom Haverhill & District have been forced to withdraw from Eastern Counties 1 - less than 12 months after promotion promised a new dawn at the club.

Tony Hope, chairman of the playing committee, and his son Gavin, first team captain, made the difficult decision after a host of withdrawals for last Saturday’s trip to Harwich.

It would have been the third time the club had been unable to fulfil a fixture - meaning they would have been expelled from the league anyway.

That said, it was a difficult decision for the club whose members - led by Gavin - have put so much energy, time and commitment into just trying to find a starting XV over the last few months.

But ultimately, it became an impossible battle and a far cry from last season when Haverhill were promoted from Eastern Counties 2.

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Tony revealed that he would now spend the rest of the season looking to secure competitive friendly matches for the 20 to 25 players still at the club while trying to find a new league to play in next season.

The club’s blossoming youth and mini section will of course remain, as all thoughts turn to a vastly improved 2011/12 season.

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Tony explained: “It has been a very difficult season. We have had some stalwarts who have been amazing but it has still been very much hand-to-mouth in terms of getting a team out.

“We have spoken to the league and the competitions secretary and the initial indication is that we won’t be allowed to go back into Eastern Counties 2 next season.

“We might have to look at other leagues as I think this is very important in keeping the players we have got as well as improving our promising youngsters.”

Haverhill have this season lost all 11 league games with a points difference of minus 447. Ironically, their last league match saw them only lose 33-12 to leaders Stowmarket - a performance hailed as “outstanding” by Hope who felt the club had turned a corner.

It seems as if Haverhill have been a victim of circumstances, losing key players to football, travelling and retirement. But they have also suffered from an apparent lack of commitment from some, and only some, of last season’s squad.

Their facilities are clearly Eastern Counties-standard but the league will have to think long and hard before deciding whether to accept them back into the second tier.

Whatever happens, here’s hoping the club’s first team can survive this season and into next - whatever standard they find themselves at.

Hope is now trying to secure competitive friendly matches against local teams, possibly seconds and thirds. If anyone can help, he can be contacted on 07816 450932.

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