Hampton & Richmond Borough boss Alan Dowson reckons the time is right for Corinthian Casuals defender Joe Hicks to step up to the Ryman Premier League.

Hicks agreed terms with the ambitious Beavers on Friday ending his five-year spell at Casuals, who he skippered to a record Ryman Division One South points haul last term.

His arrival follows the signatures of Charlie Moone and Seb Brown last week and he becomes the latest new face to sign up to Dowson's squad following the capture of ex-Ks midfield Josh Casey and former Sutton United man Eddie Hutchinson.

Jake Rose and Dean Sinclair of last season's squad also penned deals to remain at the Beveree for an assault on promotion next term.

"Joe is now more than ready to make the step up to the Ryman Premier League and he will be a very important part of the squad," said Dowson.

"Jake enjoyed himself while at the club and wanted to return, knowing our ambition.

"For me, Dean was one of the unsung heroes towards the end of the season and I am glad to have them both as part of the team again."

The departure of Casuals boss Matt Howard to Carshalton Athletic had left some fearing his squad would crumble this summer with Hicks having been joined in departing by Maz Bettache, who has signed for Hendon.

But the club, who have already secured the future of prolific striker Jamie Byatt, insist new chief James Bracken has plans to strengthen the squad with new arrivals set to be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Spokesman Stuart Tree said “On behalf of all at Corinthian-Casuals, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Joe and Maz for everything they achieved here. We wish both of them the very best for the future.

“They were both fantastic for us on the pitch and real ambassadors to the club off it. It will be a shame not to have  them and their supportive families at King George’s Arena. Casuals will be a poorer place for that.

“We always say to players that this is a club where those looking to further their careers can forge experience of playing in such a competitive league. I’m sure their time with us has made them more complete footballers and will surely excel at their new clubs.

“But we have exciting times ahead at Casuals. With James Bracken taking charge, the signs are already very positive and we’re aiming for an even better season than the one just gone. There’s some very positive vibes coming out of King George’s Arena at the moment.”