It's been a long path to where Boro' now finds itself. But it's nowhere near as long as some we've met on the way – like Haverhill Rovers...
Photo: East Anglian Daily Times

It’s been a long path to where Boro’ now finds itself. But it’s nowhere near as long as some we’ve met on the way – like Haverhill Rovers. For the Suffolk club, however, you could say their path doesn’t compare to the thrills and spills of ours; a 40-year run that took us from the United Counties League up to the Football League. And, at some point during that run, our path and theirs just happened to cross. So, let’s find out why and what became of it…

Who are Haverhill Rovers?

So, let’s go back to 1886. The big stories of the day are the first-ever Crufts dog show, the opening of the Severn Tunnel and the birth of Haverhill Rovers Football Club. But the club itself doesn’t know much about its formative years; Rovers popping up in the East Anglian League in 1906, before moving to the Essex & Suffolk Border League in 1924. They left in 1928 – but returned in 1935. What happened in the seven years between?

We don’t know.

Fast-forward to 1964 and the Rovers’ first-ever campaign in the Eastern Counties League. Over the years that followed, the club became part of the furniture in this competition. A crowning moment came in 1979 with their maiden title; edging out Great Yarmouth Town with just a point between them. It was a rare highlight too. For most of the 70s and 80s, it was more likely you’d find the club in the bottom half of the table.

Why do we know Haverhill Rovers?

Rovers never budged from the Eastern Counties League – despite that title win. So, you probably know where this is heading. It’d be the luck of a cup draw that’d pair us with the Suffolk club. And it eventually happened in the 1984-5 FA Vase First Round draw.

What is our record against Haverhill Rovers?

Well, you simply can’t fault our current head-to-head record versus Rovers. Boro’s 1984-5 holy attacking trinity of Kevin Lowe, Jim Beech and Steve Armsby all found the back of the net to help us overcome our second hurdle in that season’s FA Vase run. Sure, that was the First Round Proper and a long way from glory. But all cup runs have to start somewhere. In winning this encounter, it put us one step further along the way. And that’s all that counts.

Haverhill Rovers: Boro’s Record

Our head-to-head: P 1 — W 1 — D 0 — L 0 — F 3 — A 1 — Pts 0 — WR 100%
Our last tango: Stevenage Borough 3-1 Haverhill Rovers, 03 November 1984

What happened to Haverhill Rovers?

After overcoming Rovers, our march to the final continued… as far as the next round’s 2-1 defeat to Gorleston. For our vanquished First Round opposition, however, it was back to a string of bottom-half Eastern Counties League finishes. That said, they made the FA Vase quarter finals two seasons later. Apart from relegation to Eastern Counties League Division One in 1996 and promotion back to the top flight in 2008, we have little more to add.

It is, to date, quite the fleeting acquaintance.

• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Haverhill Rovers club profile

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Pete H is the head of the BoroGuide team; helping to keep the show on the road for the best part of two decades – all because of his love of Boro'. He was relatively late to the scene; first rocking up at Broadhall Way during the 1995-6 season. But that's mainly because he was too young to pledge allegiance before then. There have been more than enough highs (Easter Monday '96) and lows (Kettering '02) since then, however, to keep him occupied. Yes, and the 2010 title win...