Priory reach county final after derby triumph

Hastings Priory bowler Freddie Hulbert splatters the stumps in the final over of the Bexhill innings.
Hastings Priory bowler Freddie Hulbert splatters the stumps in the final over of the Bexhill innings.
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Hastings Priory Cricket Club's second team is through to the final of a county knockout competition.

Priory booked their place in the Gray-Nicolls Sussex 2nd XI T20 Cup decider with a five-wicket victory at home to local rivals Bexhill yesterday (Sunday).

Bexhill posted what looked to be a competitive total of 163-7 after winning the toss and choosing to bat in the Horntye Park sunshine.

Away captain Neil Blatchly was the mainstay of his team's innings with 64 off 55 balls at the top of the order. Blatchly shared in partnerships of 46 for the first wicket with James Walker (17) and 62 for the third wicket with Tom Powell before being run out by Ben Ferguson to leave Bexhill 120-3.

Powell was bowled in the penultimate over for 30 off 26 balls by Sam Hobbs (4-0-12-1), who along with Neil Priddy (2-0-9-2) returned remarkably economical figures given the T20 format and quickness of the outfield.

There followed a dramatic and seemingly never-ending final over, which saw two batsmen bowled by Finn Hulbert (4-0-39-2), a run out, a caught behind off a free hit and four overthrows off the last ball when Hulbert missed the stumps from close range attempting another run out.

Priory got off to a flyer in reply, scoring 56 off the first four overs - a passage of play which was crucial in the final analysis as Joe Adams continued his winning run as stand-in captain.

Blatchly (4-0-23-1) slowed things slightly and made the breakthrough by bowling Sujith Perera for 40 off 29 balls. Fellow opening batsman Hulbert was bowled by James Bywater (4-0-28-2) two runs later and the same bowler then picked up Jack Stapley for a second ball duck as 92-0 suddenly became 94-3.

Just as Bexhill sensed they might be back in it, number five Alfie Lloyd Dyke got Priory going again with a valuable 36 off just 19 balls. He and Ryan Hoadley (10) both fell with the score 139, to Jamie Wicks (4-0-39-1) and Byron Smith (4-0-37-1) respectively, but Ferguson (13 not out off 10 balls) and Priddy (13 not out off 11) guided Priory home with 10 balls to spare.

Priory will take on Three Bridges in the final at the 1st Central County Ground, Hove on Sunday August 21.

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