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Haverhill show this could be a great season

Sunday, 4th October 2009.

Haverhill 1st XV 12
Ely 24

With inspirational captain Ryan Raffel out through injury sustained the previous week, Haverhill turned to the experience of Carl Anderson for a cup clash with an Ely side that play a league above Haverhill.

On a day where the conditions of a rock hard pitch and a 40mph wind, life was never going to be easy.

Ely were in the Haverhill half right from the kick-off, but Haverhill showed good composure in all aspects of the game and gave Ely as good as they were being given.

In the first 10 minutes, however, a great intercept by Jake Plumridge in the Haverhill 22m area, led to a break-away try, beautifully executed between Plumridge and Simon Lester led to Plumridge crossing the line to take a 5-0 lead.

The wind made the kick virtually impossible, and the try was not converted. At this point the referee changed his top from the light blue of the Haverhill kit to a green shirt, making things much better for teams and the sizable crowd at Castle Fields.

Ely came back from the kick, but Haverhill defended well and turned the ball over from Ely, but the resultant back pass went into no man's land, putting the Haverhill line under pressure. Haverhill managed to clear the danger.

Matt Stephenson again showed his worth at hooker, winning ball against the head, and Haverhill continued to hold Ely at bay until the 20th minute.

Ely won a scrum on the Haverhill 10m line, and a quick strike to a not very straight put in, led to Ely punching through the Haverhill line, and a final tackle by Mike Woods could not stop the layoff for a score under the posts and conversion for 5-7.

Ely continued to pressure, but Haverhill showed great scrimmaging and drove Ely back on many occasions.

On 30 minutes, Haverhill won a penalty where the ball was thrown away by Ely, not picked up by the official. Haverhill kicked, but the ball slipped past the right post for no score.

Thirty-five minutes into the game, Haverhill lost the ever-improving Chris Claydon from the inside centre position to a possible concussive injury, replaced by Bradley Deeks.

With a minute to go before half-time, the feeling that it would be a good first half was spoilt when Ely broke through the Haverhill line from a scrum 30m out and scored under the posts on the stroke of half-time. It was converted and Haverhill turned nine points down.

From the off, Haverhill lost Ricky Harris (Kevin Carr) and then on five minutes lost Stephenson with a shoulder injury, replaced by Ben Jones.

Ely brpke through again on 15 minutes, but a knock on saved Haverhill. This led to a period of extensive pressure from Ely and an infringement near the line led to the referee going to his pocket and sin-binning Jones on 18 minutes. This was quite surprising to the home crowd. Haverhill were now a man down for ten minutes, and playing uncontested scrums due to the loss of the front row player.

On 22 minutes, another quick penalty by Ely led to a score in the corner, taking the score to 5-19. The wind proved too much for the conversion.

Eleven minutes after the sin bin, Jones wasstill not on, and a huge forward pass led to Ely scoring in the corner, much to the mirth of the home crowd.

With Jones returning Haverhill pressurised Ely again. Haverhill kept working and finally crossed the line on 30 minutes for Grant Deeks to score his first try for the club. Plumridge converted.

Haverhill were now camped into the Ely half. On 35 minutes, a great move by Haverhill led to quick hands and Ely being left for dead for a score under the posts.

However, the referee called the move back for a forward pass, to the incredulity of a now windswept and resigned home crowd.

Coach Andy Price can be pleased by the considerable improvement to the Haverhill side this year, as there was much to take out of the game.

Haverhill travel to Harwich in the league next week for a huge test of how much improvement has taken place. Let's hope there is some rain soon to soften up the ground.

Haverhill Online News

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