Billingshurst ‘must rebuild and bounce back’ to top flight after relegation

DM16134986a.jpg Cricket: Billingshurst v Hastings Priory (batting). Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160814-182932008
DM16134986a.jpg Cricket: Billingshurst v Hastings Priory (batting). Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160814-182932008
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Billingshurst skipper Stuart Barber says they must rebuild over the winter and bounce back after their relegation from the Premier Division was confirmed on Saturday.

An eight-wicket defeat at East Grinstead as they were bowled out for 99 on a good deck pretty much summed up their season. It brought an end to their two-year stay in the top flight of the Sussex League as they were condemned to the drop with a game left to play.

Hurst have managed just three wins from 18 games arnd despite sitting outside the bottom two, they have been relegated along with Worthing as the Sussex Development XI are exempt from going down.

A disappointed Barber said: “We have to look to positives and try to take that forward to next year. We have a lot of planning to do over the winter months. Look at Middleton, they have done extremely well this season in Division 2 after a tough season that was very similar to ours and it looks like they will bounce straight back.

“We need to take a similar sort of approach and try to turn around and get straight back up. This year we have just been short of the mark.

“Things have not gone for us either, losing Dhanushka (Mitipolaarachchi) early doors, not having an overseas for nearly half a season in this league is difficult. We need to try to enjoy our last game on Saturday, finish on a bit of a high and then start working hard over the winter.”

Barber top-scored with 21 as Hurst won the toss and elected to bat at the Saint Hill Ground on a good deck.

Only Mike Burroughs (19) and Abi Sakande (11) made double figures after they were skittled for 99 despite batting for 40.5 overs. Regan Derham (21) and Tim Cummins (32*) helped East Grinstead home with 101-2 inside 18 overs.

Barber added: “It was a day were our motivation seemed to run out. Unfortunately, it just was not our day at all.

“To be honest, it was a little bit lacklustre in terms of preparation for a few people and that really showed in the first innings - there were so many stupid shots played.

“It was a great wicket and to get 99 when it was more like a 250-run track, we knew we did not have much chance going into the second innings.

“The fact Brighton clawed their way back to another win, even if we did do well, it would not have helped much as they have had such a brilliant end to the season.”

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