Billingshurst confident they can climb table after ‘hugely frustrating’ month lay-off

Football, Southern Combination League Division 1: Storrington v Billingshurst SR1720215.  Chris Simmons manager. Pic Steve Robards SUS-170828-105008001
Football, Southern Combination League Division 1: Storrington v Billingshurst SR1720215. Chris Simmons manager. Pic Steve Robards SUS-170828-105008001

Billingshurst manager Chris Simmons says their month-long lay off has been ‘extremely frustrating’ but is confident they can pull clear of the tail end of Division 1.

The Jubilee Fields outfit have sunk to second bottom in the standings and are just two points clear of basement boys Southwick.

Hurst do, however, have plenty of games in hand; four more than the Wickers, three over third-from bottom Oakwood, who have two points more and five more than AFC Varndeanians, who are three points ahead.

Simmons’ side’s last fixture was away to promotion-chasing Langney Wanderers on January 27, where they suffered a 3-1 defeat with two of the goals coming in the last five minutes.

The Billingshurst boss is concerned about a fixture backlog and said: “All of the recent cancellations have been massively frustrating, especially as I have had a good strong full squad of 19 to choose from.

“We have had eight out of the last ten games postponed for waterlogged, frozen and probably now snow.

“We didn’t play one game in February and our last fixture was away to top of the table Langney where we gave them a really good game so things were starting to look good.

“It’s nice to have games in hand but at this rate we will be playing every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of the season which won’t help anyone.

“I definitely feel that we have enough quality here now to pull out of the bottom three and maybe even go a couple places higher. We still have to play all the teams around us at home we is a real benefit.”

A number of Hurst players have also turned down seven-day approaches, while the ranks have been bolstered with the recent signings of Chris Copestake and Shane Meech from Broadbridge Heath.

Simmons added: “All our players are back fit and work free apart from Craig Grantham, who is still waiting to serve the last game of his suspension. That in itself has been really frustrating because we want to get the game out of the way so that I have another quality player available for the important run in.

“Having Craig back is like signing a new player and we have brought one or two up from the reserves who have been doing really well - 18-year-old Jamie Bennett has been excellent since he stepped up.”

On the possibility of any potential relegation, Simmons explained: “I haven’t really given much thought to how many go up or down as you never know what this league will do at the end of the season. In the past teams have been promoted from fifth or sixth place in the league so nobody can say at this stage.

“Our ground is now hugely improved and we are due to get fencing around the whole of the ground very soon so that will complete any doubts over ground grading, then it’s just up to us on the pitch to get the right results.”

Billingshurst are now due to travel to Wick on Saturday.