Priory rally to clinch remarkable victory
Hastings Priory's cricketers continued their splendid season in the Sussex Premier League with another victory yesterday (Saturday).
Another five-wicket haul for Jed O'Brien and another fine all-round display from Elliot Hooper helped clinch a low scoring win away to Billingshurst.
It was certainly a day for the bowlers as just 184 runs were scored and 20 wickets fell in a match which was all over in less than 53 overs.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat on their first ever visit to Jubilee Fields, Priory were all out for 114 in 29.3 overs.
The visitors got off to a bad start, slumping to 4-2 and then 19-3 with Joe Lamb, Josh Hahnel and Leo Cammish scoring just five between them.
And when James Pooley (19) and Tom Gillespie departed within four runs of each other, both to Abidine Sakande (8-1-33-4), Priory looked in deep trouble at 39-5. Gillespie scored a century in the reverse fixture, but was out for a duck this time.
Hooper and Finn Hulbert steadied the ship during a valuable sixth wicket partnership of 48 - the highest of the match - which ended when Hulbert was lbw for 16.
Jake Woolley fell for eight to make it 98-7 and Hooper's terrific innings ended 10 runs later. His 46 was more than twice as many as any other batsman scored all afternoon.
The last two wickets fell at 113 and then 114, and at that stage second-bottom Billingshurst would've been confident of securing a much-needed win in their battle against relegation.
Priory had other ideas, though, and another excellent performance from a bowling attack which has performed well all season dismissed Billingshurst for only 70 in 23.2 overs.
Hulbert (5-0-20-2) had dismissed both home openers by the time 24 had been scored, and spin twins O'Brien and Hooper did the rest, just as they had in the previous weekend's win over Horsham.
O'Brien opened his account with the wicket of Andy Barr to make it 42-3 and the innings really fell away after Hooper bowled Thivanka Rataratne (19) - the only Billingshurst batsman to reach double figures - 10 runs later.
Billingshurst lost their last seven wickets for a mere 18 runs, O'Brien finishing with 5-13 off 6.2 overs and Hooper 3-13 from six. O'Brien now has more five-wicket hauls than any other bowler in the Sussex Premier League and is the division's second highest wicket-taker with 42 victims at 12.24.
Standings (played 16 matches unless stated): 1 Roffey 359pts, 2 Cuckfield 340, 3 Horsham 300, 4 BEXHILL (15) 285, 5 HASTINGS PRIORY 274, 6 Preston Nomads 246, 7 East Grinstead 245, 8 Brighton & Hove 219, 9 Billingshurst 184, 10 Worthing 127.
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