Priory start season with away victory

John Morgan starred with bat and ball during Hastings Priory's victory over Ifield.
John Morgan starred with bat and ball during Hastings Priory's victory over Ifield.

Hastings Priory began their 2018 Sussex Cricket League Premier Division season with a victory on Saturday.

Priory triumphed by 43 runs in a tricky-looking away fixture against last season’s Division Two champions Ifield, who were playing their first ever game in the top flight.

Priory coach Ian Gillespie said: “I’m very, very pleased with what happened. It was an important one to win. It would’ve been easy to slip up in difficult conditions against a very enthusiastic side.”

The visitors were all out for 145 in 44 overs after losing the toss and being asked to bat. Ifield bowled with a lot of enthusiasm and attacked the stumps, forcing Priory to fight hard for their runs.

Greg Devlin top-scored with 28 at number four on his league debut for Priory. The former Hellingly batsman showed a lot of commitment and determination, and played very sensibly during a 58-ball knock which ended when he was caught top edging a ball which popped on him.

John Morgan also made an important contribution with 25 at number seven, putting on 37 very handy runs for the eighth wicket with Adam Barton (14) after Priory were 104-7.

Morgan showed his experience and batted very sensibly to hold the tail together, making sure Priory used up a lot of overs. He was eventually caught on the boundary when Priory needed to open up towards the end of the innings.

The disappointing aspect of the innings for Priory was losing a few wickets in the middle order when batsmen got stuck on the crease and didn’t get forward on a low pitch.

It was difficult to know what was a good score at an unfamiliar ground, but Priory thought 175 was around par. Although they felt a little bit light on runs, they did at least have something to bowl at.

They were duly excellent with the ball and the bowlers were supported well in the field. All five frontline bowlers were among the wickets as Ifield were dismissed for 102 in 32 overs.

Adam Pye (4.5-0-20-1) bowled a good first spell and picked up his first Priory league wicket and although new ball partner Adam Barton (7-1-20-1) struggled with his line at times, he picked up the important wicket of Ifield’s topscorer Mike Norris (25) to leave the hosts 83-6 having been 63-3 at one stage.

Spin duo Jed O’Brien (7-1-23-2) and Josh Beeslee (8-0-18-2) between them dismissed the other four members of Ifield’s top six, while Morgan (5-1-16-4) bowled very well and picked up the wickets he deserved to earn the man of the match award for a very solid all-round performance.

“It was a good team bowling effort,” added Gillespie. “The seamers got us into the game and the spinners kept the pressure on.

“From early doors when we picked up the first couple of wickets we were probably in the driving seat most of the innings. We got the breakthroughs when we needed them.”

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