Barber praises Billingshurst’s brilliant team spirit despite ‘awful’ campaign

DM16135048a.jpg Cricket: Billingshurst v Hastings Priory (batting). Abidene Sakande. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160814-182758008
DM16135048a.jpg Cricket: Billingshurst v Hastings Priory (batting). Abidene Sakande. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160814-182758008

Billingshurst captain Stuart Barber has praised a brilliant team spirit for shining through despite an ‘awful season’.

The Jubilee Fields side, who have been relegated from the Premier Division, suffered a final-day eight-wicket defeat at home to Preston Nomads.

It capped a dismal campaign for Barber’s side, who have managed just three victories and will return to Division 2 after two years in the top flight.

Barber, however, has paid tribute to the players, saying: “The team spirit has been pretty sensational. When I joined three years ago, one of the main reasons was that the group of guys work so hard for each other. We have had an awful season, but we have really stayed behind each other and that suggests we can bounce straight back.

“We know we will lose Abi Sakande as he needs to play Premier Division cricket for the future of his career. As for the others, I am pretty confident we can keep hold of most of them.

“We are good mates and we enjoy playing together. The winter is such an important time. We have even had a meeting already to make sure we are in good shape to get back up again.”

Billingshurst posted 117 all out after winning the toss and batting on Saturday. Barber’s 26 and Jay Hartard’s 33 led the way assisted by Scott Stratton (19) and Awais Malik (15).

In reply, Stuart Faith (53*) and Liam O’Brien (16*) guided them home with 121-2 in 22 overs.

Barber added: “It was difficult to get motivated for it, but I think we went out there to try and enjoy it. It was actually a pretty good game, but unfortunately we lost wickets at pretty key times.

“Jay batted beautifully, the best I have seen him all season. In the second innings they really went for it and we dropped a few catches which you can’t do with a total like ours.”

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