Hurst’s new Sri Lankan backed despite bad start

Mahesh Rajaratne  ANL-140426-153452001
Mahesh Rajaratne ANL-140426-153452001

Billingshurst skipper Stuart Barber hopes the club’s new overseas player Mahesh Rajaratne will bring about a change in fortunes.

The right-arm off-spinner and top-order batsman arrived from Sri Lanka on Thursday as a replacement for Dhanushka Mitipolaarachchi, whose visa to return to Britain this season was denied.

The new signing is being backed to be an important addition at the Jubilee Fields despite scoring a duck and taking 0-63 in ’Hurst’s 169-run defeat to Hastings on Saturday.

Barber said: “We are delighted to have secured the services of Mahesh who has played in Britain for eight seasons.

“However on Saturday he was thrown in despite being a bit rusty and nervous in his first game. He hasn’t played for a while and got out from a really good yorker.

“But once he is settled in he will hopefully help us turn the corner with our season and will be an important player for us.”

Barber’s side are yet to pick up their first win of the season but he believes they can make up ground in the second half of the season.

He said: “Last year was fairly balanced throughout the Premier Division but this year it is more like two divisions.

“Some teams are winning every week and others are losing regularly, so if we can make sure we beat other teams near us in the table, that can give us a chance of rising up the table.”

Billingshurst, who will be missing players because of a wedding, take on leaders Horsham on Saturday before playing the Sussex Development side on Sunday.

Horsham skipper James Johnson said: “I think this weekend has the potential to be quite a difficult game. It’s a local rivalry and they haven’t won a game yet.

“It’s not going to be as straight forward as Horsham are top of the league and Billingshurst are bottom.”

On Sunday, Barber added: “That’s a game we’ve got to win. It’s close in the table so just a couple of wins back-to-back would lift us up the table.”

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