Priory seek another cup victory

Elliot Hooper batting for Hastings Priory against Dartford on Sunday. Picture by Simon Newstead
Elliot Hooper batting for Hastings Priory against Dartford on Sunday. Picture by Simon Newstead
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Hastings Priory’s cricketers will be aiming to make it two cup victories in a week when they contest a local derby tomorrow (Saturday).

Priory will seek to follow up Sunday’s win at home to Dartford in the ECB Royal London Club Championship with a Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup first round victory away to Eastbourne, 3.30pm start.

“We’re always keen to win and there’s a little bit of extra spice when we’re playing Eastbourne,” said Priory coach Ian Gillespie. “They will be very difficult to beat at their ground and it will sharpen us competitively. It will certainly be good for our fielding.”

Gillespie added that availability will be an issue for Sussex Premier League side Priory against Division Two team Eastbourne, but they will field a strong line-up.

John Morgan will be saved for the start of the league campaign next weekend and Jason Finch is unavailable, but Priory will hope Adam Barton is free of Sussex commitments.

Priory were comfortable six-wicket winners at home to Kent League Division One side Dartford in their first competitive game of the new season.

Gillespie said: “It was almost the perfect game in many ways. We played very, very well and it was pleasing all round.

“We got on top with our spinners - all four of them bowled exceptionally well - supported by some really good fielding and we batted excellently. All our batsmen were very positive in their shots and when we lost a wicket, we didn’t lose two together.”

Dartford chose to bat on winning the toss, but were all out for 146 in 44.4 overs - two balls short of their allocation.

Priory’s bowlers did a good job of both containing the run rate and taking wickets as scoring was slow throughout the Dartford innings.

John Morgan dismissed both openers, including former Sussex and Eastbourne wicketkeeper/batsman Callum Jackson for seven off 39 balls, before Priory’s four spinners shared the remaining eight wickets.

Jed O’Brien (3-17 off nine overs) and Jack Coleman (3-24 from 7.4) picked up six of them, and Elliot Hooper (1-37 off nine) and Jason Finch (1-25 off nine) took one apiece.

Dartford were 64-4 at one stage before sliding from 101-5 to 112-9 before adding 34 for the last wicket as Priory let them off the hook somewhat.

Priory lost captain Tom Gillespie to a good ball with the score just four in reply and James Pooley was caught in the deep having batted well for 16 to make it 28-2.

The hosts had moved along to 64 when Leo Cammish, who also batted well, nicked one behind for 29, but a fourth wicket stand of 58 between Hooper (38 off 34 balls) and Jake Woolley (40 not out) effectively put the result beyond doubt.

Alfie Lloyd-Dyke helped Woolley, who used his feet well to the spinner and struck some lovely straight boundaries, finish things off as Priory cantered to victory.

“It was absolutely ideal and the good thing was everybody contributed,” added Gillespie. “It’s good to get into a winning habit and to win one first up is really good to start building some confidence.”

Priory will host Bickley Park in round two on Sunday May 14. Bickley won by 74 runs at home to Bexhill in their first round tie.

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