Hastings Priory’s cricketers pulled off a tremendous victory away to last year’s Sussex Premier League runners-up.
Priory won by six runs in an exciting game against Cuckfield which contained 430 runs and 18 wickets yesterday (Saturday).
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Priory posted 218-8 from their 50 overs. Although no batsman reached 50, six went past 20 as Priory clubbed together to set a competitive total.
They got off to a decent start with an opening partnership of 53 between James Pooley (33 off 35 balls) and Joe Billings (21), although both departed within three runs of each other.
Ryan Hoadley (10) and Leo Cammish (17) got starts, but Priory were suddenly in a spot of bother at 93-5 after Jake Woolley was trapped leg before first ball.
Elliot Hooper and Harry Scowen got the innings back on track with an important sixth wicket partnership of 74, which ended when Hooper was caught just one shy of his half-century.
Priory lost two wickets with the score 167 and they were 182-8 after Scowen fell for a valuable 30, but then came another key partnership as Jed O’Brien (23 not out) and John Morgan (21 not out off 13 balls) added 36 unbeaten runs for the ninth wicket.
With Morgan the only frontline seamer in the side, Hooper - one of four spinners - again opened the bowling and picked up an early wicket with the score just six.
Jeet Raval (47) and James Mitchinson (19) forged a second wicket stand of 57, but after Priory captain Jason Finch had the latter caught by Pooley, wickets began to fall steadily.
Raval, who played seven Tests for New Zealand over the winter, was fourth man out with the score 98, caught behind by Billings off Jack Coleman, who two runs later dismissed Thomas Weston in the same fashion for a third ball duck.
O’Brien then picked up the sixth and seventh wickets with the score 136 to put Priory in a great position to clinch a second successive away win.
The momentum swung again, though, as Bradley Gayler and Sussex youngster Abidine Sakande fashioned an eighth wicket partnership of 68 which looked to be guiding Cuckfield to a third win out of four.
Hooper made the crucial breakthrough by having Sakande caught by O’Brien for a run-a-ball 30 and Morgan returned to claim the last two wickets in successive balls as Cuckfield were all out for 212 in 46.4 overs.
All five Priory bowlers got among the wickets. O’Brien was the most successful with 3-32 off nine overs, Hooper took 2-40 off nine, Morgan 2-36 off 8.4, Coleman 2-60 off 10 and Finch 1-37 off 10.
Sussex Premier League standings (all played 4 matches): 1 Roffey 98pts, 2 East Grinstead 96, 3 Horsham 96, 4 Middleton 82, 5 Brighton & Hove 80, 6 Cuckfield 78, 7 Preston Nomads 78, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 66, BEXHILL 31, 10 Ansty 26.