SIL Preview: What a transformation at Haughley! While leaders Henley travel to Trimley

Haughley United joint boss James Hawkins Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Haughley United joint boss James Hawkins Photo: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

It’s been quite a six months for everyone at Haughley United.

The Suffolk & Ipswich Senior Division side were just a vote away from losing that senior status at the League’s AGM at the end of last season.

That after they ended last season’s campaign second bottom of the table.

However, with fellow senior division side AFC Hoxne pulling out of the League, Haughley gained a reprieve after a vote.

Six months on they are currently second in the senior table. Quite some transformation.

“We are all quite ecstatic at the moment,” said joint manager James Hawkins, who took over in the summer with David Thompson and is closing in on 350 playing appearances for the club.

“We only ended up with two or three squad members from last season, so we were busy getting players to come and play for us.

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“David was boss at Cedars FC. But they folded in the summer, so he brought a few players over with him. And it’s kicked on from there.”

Not that it started that well for Haughley as they won just two of their opening seven games. But they haven’t lost a league game since.

“I must admit I did wonder what I had let myself in for,” Hawkins added.

“But we had some injuries and availability issues at the start of the season, which didn’t help. There is a real commaraderie within the squad, we have no moaners.

“We aren’t going to get too ahead of ourselves. We are not quite as competitive as the likes of Achilles, Cranes and Henley. But we will give anyone a good game now.”

This weekend Haughley travel to Cranes. And it was in the reverse fixture at the end of September that began Haughley’s unbeaten league run.

Meanwhile, Achilles will want to get back on track after a shock 0-1 defeat to Claydon last weekend. They travel to Bourne Vale.

But it’s Henley who start 2019 top of the pile.

They travel to Trimley Red Devils hoping for no slips against a Red Devils side who are in good form, having lost just one of their last five.

Benhall thumped basement side Grundisburgh last weekend and could move up from fourth if they beat Westerfield, while at the bottom, Grundisburgh travel to Capel Plough, while second bottom Wenhaston entertain Cops.

Claydon will look for back-to-back victories, as they entertain Leiston St Margarets, while East Bergholt entertain Bramford United.

Senior table – top six

P Pts.

Henley 15 33

Haughley 17 32

Achilles 13 31

Benhall 17 30

Capel 17 30

Cranes 15 29

Meanwhile, the race for promotion to the senior division gains apace with Old Newton and Bildeston Rangers leading the charge from Division One.

Bildeston entertain Stanton this weekend, while Old Newton entertain Bacton United in the game of the day in the division.

Division one – top five

P Pts.

Old Newton 11 28

Bildeston 10 26

Bacton 10 20

Ransomes Sports 10 19

Sporting 87 10 19