Billingshurst’s late promotion charge is over and skipper admits ‘we were up against it’

Mayfield v Billingshurst. Picture by Ron Hill
Mayfield v Billingshurst. Picture by Ron Hill

Billingshurst’s outside Premier Division promotion charge was ended on Saturday as they were ruled out of the mix by fellow chasers Mayfield.

’Hurst suffered a comprehensive 126-run reverse at the Wellbrook Ground to end their hopes of a top-two finish in Division 2.

The victory sees second-placed Mayfield open up a 46-point lead in second place ahead of St James’ in third as ’Hurst drop down to fourth.

The win sees Mayfield, who can also still win the division, maintain just a five-point gap to leaders Three Bridges.

With two games left to play – against Chichester Priory Park and Ansty – Tom Haynes’ side can now only finish as high as third.

Mayfield and St James’ play each other this weekend, with Mayfield able to finish in the top three and the latter either second, third or fourth.

The aim was very much a return to the top flight this season for ’Hurst and Haynes, which was hindered by a poor run in the middle of the season.

And while they did give it a late, unlikely charge, ultimately they had lost too much ground.

Haynes said: “It’s a shame not to have won on Saturday and keep any chances of promotion alive. We knew we were up against it, needing other results to go our way, but it was a good motivator going into the final few games.”

Having been put in, Mayfield posted 243-6 with Rob Raymond (40), Robert Sharma (70) and Harry Lloyd (37) the main contributors.

In reply, ’Hurst lost wickets regularly – despite some resistance from Stuart Barber (27) and Andrew Miller (21) – and were all out in 33 overs for 117.

Haynes added: “Mayfield are a good side and deserved the win. Personally, I felt we weren’t at our best with the ball, which has been our strength throughout the season. We did feel we were in with a shout going into the second innings, however it would take one of the top five to get a big score.

“Unfortunately a number of poor decisions didn’t go our way and we couldn’t get anywhere near the total set.”