Hastings Priory’s cricketers go into their key double header weekend knowing a decent haul of points will virtually secure their Sussex Premier League status.
Priory will host title-chasing Roffey tomorrow (Saturday) and the Sussex Development XI on Sunday in their game in hand. Play will get under way from 12.30pm on both days at Horntye Park.
Priory are currently two places and 61 points above the two relegation spots following last weekend’s emphatic win at bottom side Worthing.
“It’s a big weekend,” said Priory coach Ian Gillespie. “Roffey are a very, very good side and that’s going to be a tough game.
“We played superbly up there (in the reverse fixture) and lost in the last over with them nine down. It couldn’t really have been any closer so we’re looking forward to that game and hopefully we can put up a good performance again.
“The academy (Sussex Development XI) is one you would always target as potentially a win against a younger and less experienced side. If we can win that, that will pretty much put away our relegation fears and enable us to look at the middle of the table and play perhaps more relaxed cricket, not that we haven’t been positive with our cricket.”
Priory expect to be without the influential Adam Barton for both games, however, after the left-arm fast bowler sustained a similar injury to that which kept him out for several weeks last summer.
“As last season, he seems to have contracted a stress fracture mid-season,” said Gillespie. “He obviously does a lot of bowling at university before he comes down at the front end of the season.
“He’s likely to miss this weekend. We’re waiting for a full diagnosis of the issue and projection for how long he’s going to be out, but obviously it will be very frustrating if we lose him for a period of time.
“Our bowling unit has been fantastic and Adam’s an absolutely crucial part of that. We are going to miss him for sure and it’s frustrating for him as well because he’s just broken into some Sussex second XI cricket.”
Barton has taken 13 league wickets so far this season at a very decent average of 15.38 with a best of 4-20 in the win at home to Preston Nomads.
John Morgan is likely to play against the Development XI but not Roffey so Finn Hulbert may get a chance with the new ball tomorrow. Priory will also check the fitness of wicketkeeper/batsman Joe Billings.
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