Hastings Priory Cricket Club coach Ian Gillespie felt there were some positive signs in Saturday’s defeat to Roffey.
Priory posted a creditable total of 212-8 en route to a seven-wicket loss at home to the Sussex Cricket League Premier Division leaders.
Gillespie said: “There were some good aspects to our game. We battled away well with the bat, showed a bit more resilience than in recent weeks and a bit more nous as well.
See also: * Hastings host table-topping Roffey
* Hastings beaten by strong Horsham outfit
“We still had too many players who got in and didn’t go on to make a big score. If someone had made 60 or 70, that score would’ve been around 240, which would’ve been a competitive total. That’s where we fell down a little bit.
“We bowled fairly well and Jed (O’Brien) bowled exceptionally well, but they’re a proper side and they batted very sensibly.
“We did okay, which was pleasing. There’s things to work on - still not enough energy in the field, we don’t support our bowlers as well as we should and we’ve got to take a bit more control with the bat, but we were far more competitive than we were when we went to Roffey earlier in the season.”
Reverting back to the 50-overs-per-side win-or-lose limited overs playing format used in the first five games of the season, Priory won the toss and chose to bat at Horntye Park. But they suffered an early blow when leading run scorer Joe Billings was caught behind for a fifth ball duck.
Harry Finch, fresh off signing a new contract at Sussex during the week, came in at three and blasted 24 off just 12 balls with five fours until being caught to leave Priory 36-2.
That became 46-3 when Jake Woolley, who has enjoyed such a good season, was caught for three and then 66-4 after captain Tom Gillespie was caught on the drive for 26.
From there Priory did well to post a score of 200-plus. Ryan Hoadley and Elliot Hooper began the recovery with a fifth wicket partnership of 53, which ended when Hoadley was caught for 28.
Although Hooper was bowled nine runs later for 32, Harry Scowen and John Morgan added 42 useful runs for the seventh wicket until Morgan was leg before for 20.
Scowen continued on and received handy support from Jed O’Brien, who was bowled for 14 to leave Priory 191-8, and then Josh Beeslee (7 not out). Scowen finished as Priory’s highest scorer with 41 not out.
As for the Roffey bowlers, Alex Collins took 3-52 from nine overs, Luke Barnard 2-31 off 10, Ben Manenti 1-44 off 10, Rohit Jagota 1-14 from four and Theodore Rivers 1-11 off two. Leigh Harrison conceded just 21 runs from his seven.
Rivers then spearheaded the visitors’ successful run chase with an unbeaten century at the top of the order.
Priory landed an early blow when Beeslee had Manenti caught behind by Billings for eight with the score 16, but a second wicket partnership of 138 between Rivers and Jibran Khan completely took the game away from the home side.
O’Brien eventually had Khan caught by Hooper for 55 and the same bowler had the accomplished Jagota caught behind for a single just two runs later to leave Roffey 156-3.
Any hopes Priory may suddenly have harboured were swiftly extinguished, however, by an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 68 between Rivers and Davies (18 not out) which took Roffey past the winning post with 8.5 overs to spare. Rivers finished on 102 not out from 118 balls with 11 fours and two sixes.
In the absence of paceman Adam Barton, four of Priory’s five-pronged bowling attack were spinners. O’Brien finished with 2-40 off 10 overs, Beeslee 1-58 from 10, Jack Coleman 0-12 off three, Hooper 0-56 from 10 and seamer Morgan 0-37 off 8.1.
Sussex League Premier Division standings (all played 15 matches): 1 Roffey 355pts, 2 Eastbourne 342, 3 Horsham 310, 4 Brighton & Hove 302, 5 Preston Nomads 291, 6 East Grinstead 282, 7 Middleton 214, 8 Cuckfield 209, 9 HASTINGS PRIORY 150, 10 Ifield 130.
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