Priory seek batting improvement

Harry Scowen batting for Hastings Priory against Horsham last weekend. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Harry Scowen batting for Hastings Priory against Horsham last weekend. Pictures by Simon Newstead
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Hastings Priory Cricket Club is keen to get some consistency in its batting as it prepares to face last year’s Sussex Premier League runners-up.

Heading into the trip to Cuckfield tomorrow (Saturday), Priory have twice been bowled out for less than 90 in their three league fixtures to date, including last weekend’s heavy defeat at home to Horsham, and amassed more than 270 in the other.

Elliot Hooper shapes up to drive against Horsham.

Elliot Hooper shapes up to drive against Horsham.

“I think the critical thing is to get some consistency into our batting,” said Priory coach Ian Gillespie. “Our batting should be capable of scoring a lot more runs than it is.

“It’s not a batting line-up that should be getting bowled out for under 100 by anybody. We’ve got to focus on getting our batting firing consistently - that’s the thing that’s really stood out after three games - and it’s got to happen quickly.”

Priory are eighth in the early league table having won one and lost two so far. They beat Ansty by 130 runs away from home in between losing by 216 runs at home to East Grinstead and six wickets at home to Horsham.

“We were weak against Grinstead and they were very good,” continued Gillespie. “I thought we played very well at Ansty in all departments and it was a top performance. The frustrating thing is we’ve not kicked on from that and put in a good performance against Horsham - that’s the really disappointing result.”

Cuckfield are sixth in the table - just five points behind leaders Middleton - having won two and lost one so far. They were comfortable winners over Preston Nomads last weekend.

“Cuckfield are quite a strong side, and we’ve got to show we can bounce back and play competitively,” added Gillespie. “We’re still going to have issues with our seam bowling and they’ve obviously got a strong batting side so it’s going to be hard for us.”

With Adam Barton injured and Finn Hulbert at university, John Morgan was the only frontline seamer on show against Horsham.

Priory are therefore relying largely on their ever-strong spin attack. In addition to consistent performers Elliot Hooper and Jed O’Brien, Jack Coleman is showing some confidence and Jason Finch offers a more defensive option.

Priory are hoping to have Bede’s students Joe Billings, Ryan Hoadley and Harry Scowen available again tomorrow. Barton and injured captain Tom Gillespie are likely to return around mid-June, and Hulbert is expected back from university at the same sort of time.