Mitipolaarachchi shines as Hurst take plenty of positives in loss

WH 300614 Cricket. Goring v Billingshurst (batting). D. Mitipolaarachchi Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140630-224830002
WH 300614 Cricket. Goring v Billingshurst (batting). D. Mitipolaarachchi Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140630-224830002
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Billingshurst lost at Preston Nomads as they kicked off their competitive season in the Gray Nicholls T20 Cup.

Nomads batted first and Oliver Gatting got them off to a flier with 46 from just 25 balls.

Jeremy Green (60*) and Robert Wakeford (34) carried on the good work and Nomads posted a total of 171-4 from 20 overs.

Captain Ben Williams was the pick of the Hurst bowlers, taking 2-21.

In reply, only Dhanushka Mitipolaarachchi (68* from 46 balls) got going as the rest of the batting fell to the bowling of Carl Simon (3-22, Kashif Ibrahim 2-22), Stephen Rigg (2-19) and James Silk (2-3).

Williams was happy with the workout before their league campaign gets underway on Saturday and reserved special praise for Mitipolaarachchi.

He said: “We have learned a lot about where we are as a team going into the season.

“There were some positives with Dhanushka, who was fantastic. He showed he is good enough at that level and will really have an impact this year.

“He was the highlight, but without sounding big headed, I bowled quite well with the best figures. Richie Bown, our keeper, kept well and was really good with the gloves. Generally all-round they were a better side, but we have six guys to come back in from that.”

Billingshurst start life in the Premier Division against East Grinstead and will be boosted by having Sussex’s Chris Liddle available.

Williams added: “Chris Liddle is playing Saturday which will be great. It’s a fantastic game to come in and make a mark. The guys are looking forward to having him in the team.”