Haywards Heath can beat the drop says skipper Smith
Captain Callum Smith has every confidence that Premier Division new boys Haywards Heath CC will avoid relegation this season.
Heath earned promotion from Division 2 in 2019 but were unable to compete in the Premier in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Last year’s league campaign was cancelled and, in its stead, Heath played in the supplementary August Cup competition - where they finished second-from-bottom in Group A2.
Heath kicked off 2021 with an eight-wicket home loss to Three Bridges CC in the T20 Cup on Saturday.
Heath begin their league campaign at home to Brighton & Hove CC this Saturday, and Smith expects Heath to give a good account of themselves this season.
He said: “We are not too worried about any results so far, but it’s certainly opened our own eyes to a few areas we need to sharpen up on as a team.
“We know how tough this year is going to be. We need our players to stand up and perform and I have every confidence we will.
“As a team we are relishing the challenge but under no illusions of how tough it will be. Our aim for the season is certainly to stay up.”
“Going from expecting to win every game and achieve promotion to an underdog each week will be strange, but it takes the pressure off us a little and I am sure we will cause a few upsets.”
Smith pinpointed three players who would be key for Heath in their bid for Premier Division survival this season.
The skipper also confirmed that Heath’s talismanic overseas player Ben van Rensburg will not be returning for the 2021 campaign but revealed they were close to finding his replacement.
Smith added: “Jethro Menzies and Jonny Phelps have been key players for us in getting to the Premier Division and I expect them both to have big seasons.
“Henry Sims, playing his first proper season for us, is a great addition and solves a wicketkeeping void we have had.”
“We haven’t been able to get Ben van Rensburg back due to the Covid issues in South Africa, so we have opted for a West Indian batsman who is due to arrive in the coming weeks.”
Heath will be back at Clair Park for their league opener against Brighton, after a year away, and Smith was looking forward to returning to home comforts.
He said: “Brighton are a regular Premier Division side who we know have some quality players.
“We didn’t play any home games last year due to some ground issues so we are loving being back at the Heath.
“Let’s hope the sun is shining come Saturday as the ground is looking fantastic.”