Hastings Priory Cricket Club has been relegated from the Sussex League Premier Division with two games remaining.
Priory are guaranteed to finish in the bottom two - and will drop down to Division Two for next summer - after losing a remarkable game away to East Grinstead yesterday (Saturday).
Former Sussex bowler Lewis Hatchett returned amazing figures of 9-18 from 8.3 overs as Priory were skittled out for just 52 in reply to Grinstead’s 216-8 from their 50 overs.
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Priory actually got off to a dream start after Grinstead chose to bat, swiftly reducing the home side to 5-3. John Morgan pinned Darryl Rebbetts leg before with the first ball of the game, Adam Barton bowled the other opener, Steven Game, for a 13-ball duck and Morgan bowled Fynn Hudson-Prentice for four.
Grinstead were 33-4 after left-arm paceman Barton had Ollie Graham caught by Elliot Hooper for 16. Hooper then got in on the act with the ball, firstly having Grinstead captain Will Adkin caught by Josh Beeslee for 19 with the score 61 and then trapping Matt Heppell leg before for 19 to leave the home side 72-6.
Rather like in Priory’s defeat away to Eastbourne back in May, they were unable to press home their early advantage as Grinstead’s lower middle order fought back superbly.
The home side’s recovery began with a seventh wicket partnership of 55 between James Adkin and Bradley Hatchett, which ended when the former was caught and bowled by Jed O’Brien for 34.
Bradley Hatchett then put on 83 for the eighth wicket with Ian Sturmer, who blasted 59 off just 30 balls until being bowled by Hooper, to shift the momentum in Grinstead’s favour. Bradley Hatchett ended the innings 44 not out.
Hooper took 3-40 from his 10 overs, Morgan returned fine figures of 2-26 from his 10, Barton took 2-63 from 10 and O’Brien 1-45 from 10. Beeslee conceded just 37 runs from his 10.
Priory’s reply lasted just 16.3 overs as they were blown away by the brilliant Lewis Hatchett, who also took six wickets in the reverse fixture and now has 42 league victims this season.
Number six Harry Scowen was the only Priory batsman to score more than seven with a defiant 23 from 47 balls, including four of the seven boundaries struck during the innings.
Priory lost their first two wickets with the score three and they were 10-3 after Sturmer pinned Tom Gillespie leg before for seven - the only wicket not claimed by Lewis Hatchett.
That soon became 14-4 and 23-5, and when the sixth and seventh wickets went down with the score 30, Priory were in danger of failing to reach 50.
Scowen at least ensured their avoided that particular embarrassment, with a bit of help from O’Brien (7) until he became the fifth LBW victim of the innings, but a game that had started so well ended in a 164-run defeat.
Sussex League Premier Division standings (all played 16 matches): 1 Roffey 385pts, 2 Eastbourne 372, 3 Preston Nomads 321, 4 Horsham 320, 5 Brighton & Hove 314, 6 East Grinstead 310, 7 Cuckfield 237, 8 Middleton 223, 9 HASTINGS PRIORY 158, 10 Ifield 138.
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