Priory bowling boost for weekend double

Finn Hulbert is expected to feature for Hastings Priory for the first time this season against Middleton tomorrow. Picture courtesy Regwood Photography
Finn Hulbert is expected to feature for Hastings Priory for the first time this season against Middleton tomorrow. Picture courtesy Regwood Photography

Hastings Priory Cricket Club is set for a bowling boost heading into a big weekend of league and cup action.

Priory expect to have at least one and possibly even two seamers back in the fold as they prepare to host Middleton in the Sussex Premier League tomorrow (Saturday) and Crowhurst Park in the Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup on Sunday.

Finn Hulbert is likely to come into the side having been away at university so far this summer and Adam Barton may be back from the hand injury picked up while batting for the Sussex second team several weeks ago, although he might need one more week’s recovery time.

“That will give us a much more balanced bowling attack,” said Priory coach Ian Gillespie, whose team has relied on its strong spin bowling options of late, with John Morgan at times operating as the only recognised seamer. “Hopefully we will have a team that offers a bit of everything.”

Looking at the batting, Ryan Hoadley and Harry Scowen are set to miss out because of school cricket commitments with Bede’s, and Scowen has also pulled a hamstring. Alfie Lloyd-Dyke, George Eldridge and Ben Ferguson could come into contention after scoring well for the seconds.

Priory will be eager to pick up their first home league victory of the season tomorrow having been soundly beaten by East Grinstead and Horsham in their two previous games at Horntye Park.

Seventh-placed Middleton are one position and 14 points above Priory, with both teams having won two and lost three of their opening five fixtures.

“Certainly we’ll be hoping we can get a win at home,” continued Gillespie. “We look at every game as we can potentially win, but we know that in order to get good results, we’re going to have to play to our potential and make sure we don’t make the mistakes we have been making a little bit early doors.

“If it was three-two wins to defeats I would say that was very good. The other way round is a little bit disappointing. We probably should have another dozen points on the board.

“We’re a little way behind Roffey and East Grinstead at the moment, but we should be looking at competing much more on an even footing with Horsham, (Preston) Nomads and Cuckfield.

“Until you win games you’re looking over your shoulder, but I would like to think we’re better than getting drawn into a relegation battle.

“The key thing is to produce some consistently good cricket. We’ve played well for periods in most games, but we’ve got to put together consistent whole game performances now.”

After five win or lose 50-overs-per-side limited overs matches, the next nine will be played under the timed format used in previous seasons, where a draw is also possible.

“I think the most important thing is not so much the format, it’s us being fit and balanced,” Gillespie went on. “I do think we’re quite well equipped for the limited overs games when people are fit, but we’ve not been able to put that sort of side out.”

Once tomorrow’s match is out of the way, Priory will turn their attentions to the T20 cup and a second round derby against Division Five East high-flyers Park.

“That’s a cup we would like to have a run in,” added Gillespie. “I think we’ve got a team that’s quite well balanced for that, and if we get some luck with the draw and play well, I think we’re in with a shout in that competition.”

Tomorrow’s match will get underway from 12noon at Horntye Park and Sunday’s game will start at 1pm.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 5 matches): 1 Roffey 128pts, 2 East Grinstead 126, 3 Brighton & Hove 110, 4 Cuckfield 108, 5 Preston Nomads 104, 6 Horsham 97, 7 Middleton 92, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 78, BEXHILL 32, 10 Ansty 28.