Local bragging rights and important Sussex Premier League points is at stake for the cricketers of Bexhill and Hastings Priory.
The near neighbours will go head-to-head at The Polegrove today (Saturday) in the first meeting between the clubs for 22 months. Play is due to start at 12.30pm.
Bexhill captain Johnathan Haffenden said: “We’ll be keen for Hastings, but we’ll just approach it as we would any other game.”
The league table suggests a close contest could be on the cards. The teams are separated by just one place and four points, with Bexhill sixth and Priory seventh approaching the midway point in the campaign.
Priory coach Ian Gillespie said: “When the fixtures come out you look at the highlight fixtures and the local derby with Bexhill would certainly be one.
“A lot of our youngsters have come up with Bexhill players; they’ve played together in county youth cricket and also against each other many times from under-7 right the way through.
“There’s a good healthy rivalry between the two clubs and they will be playing for bragging rights in the local area just as much as we will so that adds a bit of spice to it.
“Having said that, it’s another big game with a mission for us to try and play good, competitive cricket, try and win, and if not, get as many points as we can out of the game to keep the season moving forward. The main focus will be to continue to play the good quality cricket that we have been playing.”
Bexhill have won the last three league meetings between the clubs (two in 2014 and one in 2012), but Priory will go into the game full of confidence following impressive wins in their last two completed matches, the latest of which was an excellent 88-run success at home to Preston Nomads last weekend.
“By the look of it they had a good win at the weekend,” continued Haffenden. “But over the last few years we’ve had some good results against Hastings. We enjoy playing at The Polegrove and play it quite well. It’s probably a bit different from what Hastings are used to. I think we will have a slight advantage.”
Will Edwards is on holiday, but Ian May should be available again for Bexhill. Priory are unsurprisingly expected to make few changes, although Joe Billings should be available to return.
Priory are due to visit Roffey in a Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup quarter-final tomorrow (3.30pm start) immediately after the clubs’ second teams meet at the same stage of their competition (12noon start). Bexhill are away to Brighton & Hove in another of the 2nd XI quarter-finals tomorrow.
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