Hastings need to play ‘fearless but sensible cricket’

Hastings Priory celebrate claiming a wicket in last weekend's derby defeat to Eastbourne. Picture by Jon Rigby
Hastings Priory celebrate claiming a wicket in last weekend's derby defeat to Eastbourne. Picture by Jon Rigby

Hastings Priory all-rounder John Morgan has urged the club to play ‘fearless but sensible cricket’ heading into a tough-looking run of matches.

Priory’s next five Sussex Cricket League Premier Division games are all against the teams who finished in the top six with them last summer, starting with a visit from Horsham today (Saturday).

Morgan said: “They are the tougher fixtures, but who knows. We’ve beaten Preston Nomads and Horsham the last couple of years.

“We’ve got to be positive and not be afraid against some maybe professional names and teams that have done well in the last couple of years. We’ve got to play some fearless cricket, but sensible cricket.

“All you need is one performance to turn the game and everybody plays on the back of that really.

“We’ve got some tricky games, but we back our ability. We’ve come fifth the last two seasons because we’re a good little side. We’ve got to bounce back and that’s what we’re usually pretty good at.”

Priory are currently eighth in a 10-team division where fourth-placed Eastbourne and bottom side Middleton are separated by just 13 points after the first four matches.

Priory’s games so far have been against the two promoted clubs, and the teams who finished seventh and eighth in the Premier Division last year.

They’ve recorded one win, two defeats and an abandonment, although they’ve not been helped by injuries to opening bowlers Adam Barton and Alastair Maasch, plus the unavailability for the first half of the season of key all-rounder Elliot Hooper.

Morgan said: “It’s a very competitive league and teams can beat each other. Whilst we would’ve liked to pick up two or three victories from the first four games, we need to look to pick up seven wins (across the season) to secure our top flight status. It’s disappointing, but not the end of the world.

“We’re playing 70-75 percent really good cricket. The other 25 percent we’re playing soft cricket and that’s really hurting us.

“There’s nothing to be too worried about. It’s just frustrating that we’re letting ourselves down by switching off.

“We’re not that far away. We could quite easily be sitting here with three wins. We’ve just been a little bit off the boil really which has cost us.”

Priory and Horsham are level on points heading into today’s encounter at Horntye Park, which will complete the first batch of win-or-lose 50-overs-per-side fixtures.

“We’ve got to see every game as an opportunity to pick up 30 points really,” added Morgan, who is pleased with how winter recruits Josh Beeslee, Greg Devlin and Adam Pye have bedded in. “We’ve got a good bowling unit, and hopefully we can build a bit of pressure and pick up a win.”

Harry Scowen and Ryan Hoadley remain available, Devlin should be back, and Maasch may come into contention as a batsman only having played for the seconds last weekend. Play will get underway at 12noon.

For a report on Priory’s loss away to Eastbourne last weekend, click here.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played four matches): 1 Roffey 100pts, 2 Brighton & Hove 100, 3 East Grinstead 81, 4 Eastbourne 63, 5 Preston Nomads 61, 6 Ifield 59, 7 Horsham 56, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 56, 9 Cuckfield 53, 10 Middleton 50.

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