An outstanding bowling performance by Elliot Hooper wasn’t quite enough for Hastings Priory to defeat the new Sussex Cricket League Premier Division leaders.
The left-arm spinner took returned career best figures of 8-50 from 23.5 overs, but Priory were beaten by 20 runs away to Brighton & Hove yesterday (Saturday).
Brighton, who this time didn’t field former Priory, Sussex and Scotland batsman Matt Machan, were all out for 181 in 55.5 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat.
Adam Pye (9-0-33-1) landed the first blow for Priory by bowling Bryce Hounsome for 12 with the score 23. Hooper opened his account by dismissing the other opener, Isaac Taylor, for 14 just eight runs later.
Simon Hetherton and Steven Crosby then forged a third wicket partnership of 88 which proved key to the eventual outcome. In the end both were caught by Greg Devlin off Hooper, firstly Hetherton for 53 and 14 runs later Crosby for 51.
Brighton tumbled to 146-8, losing five wickets for 13 runs, as Hooper ripped through the lower middle order. He trapped Guy Williamson leg before for a single, had Waheed Safi caught by John Morgan for a duck and bowled Felix Sheppard for four before running out Adam Mates for five.
Chris Mates and Jonathan Goldstraw added 31 useful runs for the ninth wicket until Hooper had the former caught by Morgan for 19 and four runs later had Goldstraw caught by George Eldridge for 11 to complete a very rare eight-wicket haul.
Adam Page also deserves a mention for conceding just 33 runs from 12 overs, three of which were maidens, on his first league appearance for Priory’s first team this summer.
Priory, though, came up just short in their quest for a first away league win since the opening day of the season as they were all out for 161 in 45.5 overs.
Both openers were back in the pavilion by the time 16 had been scored, Tom Gillespie and Joe Billings falling to Hetherton (15-2-46-3) for three and nine respectively. The visitors were 34-3 after Devlin was caught off Chris Mates (10-0-39-1) for 13.
Jake Woolley and Hooper compiled the highest partnership of the innings, putting on 42 for the fourth wicket before Hooper was bowled by Goldstraw (9-0-45-2) for 37 off just 32 balls.
The in-form Woolley kept on going, but lost two partners in quick succession as Eldridge and Ben Ferguson were leg before to Goldstraw and Sheppard (11.5-1-25-4) respectively to leave Priory 99-6.
Morgan and Woolley took the total on to 132 until Morgan was caught off Sheppard for 12. Priory got within 30 of their target with three wickets still left, but their hopes suffered a hammer blow when Woolley was bowled by Hetherton for a fine 52 to make it 156-8.
Pye was caught off Sheppard for a run-a-ball 18 only four runs later and Brighton sealed their victory when Page was leg before to the same bowler for a single one run later.
Priory will be back in action this afternoon (Sunday) when they host Roffey in a Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup semi-final. Play will get underway from 1pm at Horntye Park.
Sussex Premier League standings (all played 12 matches): 1 Brighton & Hove 271pts, 2 Roffey 267, 3 Eastbourne 252, 4 East Grinstead 235, 5 Horsham 224, 6 Preston Nomads 223, 7 Cuckfield 181, 8 Middleton 166, 9 HASTINGS PRIORY 126, 10 Ifield 107.
See also: * Hastings left with mountain to climb
* Sussex star can’t save Hastings from defeat
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