Hastings’ spirits lifted ahead of another key contest

Elliot Hooper pushes into the off-side during Hastings Priory's victory over Ifield. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Elliot Hooper pushes into the off-side during Hastings Priory's victory over Ifield. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Hastings Priory Cricket Club heads into another key relegation scrap with spirits lifted following a vital victory last weekend.

Priory will travel to Middleton today (Saturday) buoyed by an 87-run win at home to Ifield which lifted them off the foot of the Sussex League Premier Division table.

“We’re off the bottom now and it was noticeably more buoyant afterwards, with people looking forward to next week’s game,” said Priory coach Ian Gillespie.

“I think they’re all going to be crucial now. It’s no good winning that one if we go and get heavily beaten by Middleton. There’s work to be done still for the next few weeks and there will be all season because it may come down to points in other games.

“We’ve got to look to get some wins. We’re still looking for those five wins and we’ve still got to get three more from eight games. That’s going to be a tough ask, but it’s amazing what a win can do.”

Priory are now 10 points above Ifield and 13 behind Middleton, who occupy the final safe spot of third-from-bottom.

In-form Hastings Priory batsman Jake Woolley plays a cut shot against Ifield.

In-form Hastings Priory batsman Jake Woolley plays a cut shot against Ifield.

“If we could put back-to-back wins together, we believe we can be competitive against anybody in the division,” continued Gillespie.

“We’ve got to bowl each ball to best effect, bat purposefully and take each ball on its merit, and the totals will come and the wickets will come.”

The reverse fixture between Priory and Middleton back in May was abandoned due to rain during the first innings.

“Their Indian player, who’s played IPL cricket, is a very good player and has scored a lot of runs - that’s going to be the main threat,” Gillespie went on. “Sean Heather is another very good batsman and knows their wicket well. Those are the two key players.

“If we’re going to restrict their batting and stop them winning, we’ve got to get those two out. Their bowling attack is reliable and steady, and it’s usually a good wicket down there.

“They’re eminently beatable, but we’ve got the issue of those two batters. I think both teams will be purposeful and it should be a good game of cricket.”

Priory will be without Adam Barton, who is again on duty at Lord’s for the One Day International between England and India, but fellow pace bowler Adam Pye will return.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 10 matches): 1 Roffey 242pts, 2 Brighton & Hove 215, 3 East Grinstead 213, 4 Horsham 213, 5 Eastbourne 192, 6 Preston Nomads 181, 7 Cuckfield 139, 8 Middleton 125, 9 HASTINGS PRIORY 112, 10 Ifield 102.

See also: Hastings clinch vital victory in bottom two tussle
Hastings set for key basement battle

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