BIG-HITTING batsman Oli Hairs has departed York Cricket Club.

The Scotland player, who bludgeoned 68 from just 45 balls as the Clifton Parkers became national champions when they won the Kingfisher Beer Cup in 2012, has moved to Birmingham because of work commitments.

Hairs is the latest high-profile batsman to leave the Shipton Road club over the past few months, with stalwart Duncan Snell having left to seek a new challenge with Bradford League side Woodlands following a decade with York.

Vice-captain, and club secretary, Nick Kay has already described this season as a “transitional” campaign for an outfit which has won the Solly Sports Yorkshire ECB County Premier League for seven successive seasons.

But with the likes of top Yorkshire prospect Jack Leaning, young bowler Ben Coad and hungry batsmen like Ryan McKendry champing at the bit to get into the middle when the season starts with a home clash with rivals Yorkshire Academy on April 19, Kay is optimistic that another successful year could be on the cards.

York warm up for their league opener with two friendly matches this weekend. They go to Pudsey St Lawrence tomorrow before entertaining Newark in a 40-over-a-side match the following day (noon start).

Kay said: “Oli had the ability to score runs very quickly so it is a big loss for us but it gives Ryan a chance and he could be the long term future of our batting. Teams go round in cycles and we have had a long run.”

Kay adds vital experience to the middle order and he added: “There will be a time when we are relying on young lads and this is one of those years. I’ve got every confidence though that the guys will be fine in the Yorkshire League.”