‘One of the best league innings that’s been played at Horntye’ was how Hastings Priory coach Ian Gillespie described Joe Billings’ magnificent century against Horsham.
The young wicketkeeper/batsman made 143 off 141 balls with 17 fours and a six in a Sussex Cricket League Premier Division thriller which Priory lost off the final ball. For a report on that match, click here.
Gillespie said: “It was one of the best league innings that’s been played at Horntye I should think. There’s James Beeny’s 150 at Preston Nomads and you could put a few others in there, but that was an absolutely fantastic innings.
“He was going at a run-a-ball against a good bowling attack and he batted absolutely beautifully. It was a massive innings, particularly as not too many people stayed around with him.”
It was Billings’ first Priory century and it was more than double his previous highest score for the first team, which was 70 against Roffey last summer.
“He’s recently been released by the Sussex academy, but he’s got a fantastic attitude to the game, and he’s a brilliant all-round bloke and cricketer,” added Gillespie.
The result has left Priory seventh in the 10-team division.
“A lot of positives to take out of the game and some wonderful performances, but suddenly we’ve lost three in a row,” continued Gillespie.
“Because of our catching (problems), we’ve just allowed teams to get a few more than they should’ve done and we haven’t quite all done what we should’ve done with the bat, but have played well for large parts of games.
“We’ve probably played very well for 75-80 percent of each game, but we’ve had little periods which have gone horribly against us and that’s cost us.”
A big weekend lies in store for Priory with matches on two fronts. First up is a trip to leaders Roffey in the league today (Saturday) and that will be followed by a Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup second round tie at home to Division Three leaders Portslade tomorrow, 12noon start.
After five limited overs games at the start of the league season, today’s match - at a ground where Gillespie admits Priory have ‘taken some hidings’ in the past - will begin a run of nine consecutive 110-over timed matches.
Ryan Hoadley and Harry Scowen aren’t available tomorrow due to school cricket commitments, but should be okay for tomorrow, while all-rounder John Morgan will probably only feature today.
Sussex Premier League standings (all played five matches): 1 Roffey 130pts, 2 Brighton & Hove 126, 3 East Grinstead 111, 4 Preston Nomads 91, 5 Horsham 86, 6 Eastbourne 76, 7 HASTINGS PRIORY 69, 8 Ifield 65, 9 Cuckfield 60, 10 Middleton 52.
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