Haynes takes the Billingshurst helm with ambitions of promotion

Billingshurst are hoping to be boosted by the return of Sri Lankan Will Dhanushka Mitipolaarachchi
Billingshurst are hoping to be boosted by the return of Sri Lankan Will Dhanushka Mitipolaarachchi

New Billingshurst captain Tom Haynes is the man tasked with leading the club back into the Sussex League Premier Division.

Hurst dropped out of the top flight last year after a two-year stay in the division, but are looking to bounce straight back in 2017.

Former Sussex youngster Haynes, 19, has replaced Stuart Barber as skipper and he admits he is excited for the challenge despite his tender years.

The Jubilee Fields side are also hoping to be boosted by the return of Sri Lankan Dhanushka Mitipolaarachchi – the long-term Hurst overseas missed last season due to visa problems.

Haynes said: “I’m looking forward to the opportunity! We have a great bunch of lads at the club, who are backing me in the position, so really looking forward to the challenge.

“I guess after taking over the captaincy, naturally there is an added pressure for me to perform in the role. particularly as the club has high aspirations of gaining promotion back into the Sussex Premier League.

“Although I feel taking on the captaincy will benefit my individual game, on and off the field.

“Without a doubt, we are looking to go straight back up. That’s the main focus of all the guys in the 1st X1 and I’m extremely confident if we play to anywhere near our potential we will have a very successful season.”

Haynes believes that Billingshurst already have a solid squad, but is working to add to that ahead of the new campaign in the summer.

One massive boost will be the expected return of all-rounder Mitipolaarachchi after they missed the right-handed batsman and off-break bowler.

Two players that will not be re-joining this season are Abi Sakande, who has signed a contract at Sussex, and Jay Hartard.

Haynes, who is currently playing cricket in Australia for Melbourne-based side Box Hill, added: “We are hoping Dhanushka will be returning to the club after outstanding previous seasons at the club.

“We haven’t confirmed any new signings, as of yet, but have a few good leads. I feel like we have a strong squad of players regardless, but if we could bring in a couple of guys it will definitely strengthen the depth at the club.”