Priory beat the weather to earn splendid win

Match-winner Elliot Hooper bowling for Hastings Priory against Preston Nomads. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Match-winner Elliot Hooper bowling for Hastings Priory against Preston Nomads. Pictures by Simon Newstead

After a run of rain-hit matches, Hastings Priory’s cricketers finally beat the weather and their opponents at Horntye Park yesterday (Saturday).

Priory pulled off a very good three-wicket victory at home to Preston Nomads to jump up two places to sixth in the Sussex Premier League.

After losing the toss and being asked to field, Priory bowled Nomads out for 184 in 53.5 overs with Jed O’Brien taking four wickets, and Adam Barton and Elliot Hooper three apiece.

Left-arm fast bowler Barton (12.5-0-41-3) landed the first two blows, bowling Daniel Phillips (12) and Oliver Gatting (8) to leave Nomads 41-2.

Nathan Poole and William Wright put on 55 for the third wicket, but Nomads then lost four wickets for 10 runs to go from 96-2 to 108-6.

Hooper (13-3-48-3) firstly had Wright caught by Wright for 28, then O’Brien (15-1-35-4) dismissed key duo Dominic Shepheard and captain Jeremy Green for ducks, before Hooper had Tim Moses caught by Finn Hulbert for five.

Jed O'Brien on his way to four wickets for Priory against Preston Nomads.

Jed O'Brien on his way to four wickets for Priory against Preston Nomads.

Left-arm spinner Hooper pinned Craig Alexander leg before for 14 to make it 127-7, but opener Poole was still going strong and made his way to 76 before O’Brien had him caught by Jason Finch for a game-high 76, leaving Nomads 169-8.

O’Brien claimed his fourth victim by bowling number 10 Mason Robinson for two and the returning Barton finished things off by bowling last man Owen Kernan for six. Number nine Kashif Ibrahim finished unbeaten on 24.

Priory got off to a decent enough start in reply until losing Finch for 22 and Joe Billings for a second ball duck with the score 37, both to Alexander (12-5-37-3).

And when two more wickets went down in quick succession, firstly James Pooley to Kernan (3-0-19-1) for 16 and then Leo Cammish to Alexander for seven, Priory were 57-4 and had much work to do.

Adam Barton steams in during his opening spell at Horntye Park yesterday.

Adam Barton steams in during his opening spell at Horntye Park yesterday.

But substantial partnerships for the next two wickets, both featuring the influential Hooper, swung the game firmly in the home side’s favour.

Hooper and Tom Gillespie added 49 for the fifth wicket until the latter was bowled by Shepheard (4-1-11-1) for a run-a-ball 26. Hooper and Ryan Hoadley then forged a splendid sixth wicket stand of 78 to put Priory on the brink of victory.

Hoadley was run out by Green for 27 off as many balls with the scores level and Hulbert was then dismissed in identical fashion, by Poole, before Priory eventually got over the line in the 38th over. Hooper was the hero with a fine unbeaten 61 off 61 deliveries featuring seven fours.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 14 matches): 1 East Grinstead 334pts, 2 Roffey 315, 3 Cuckfield 273, 4 Horsham 262, 5 Preston Nomads 227, 6 HASTINGS PRIORY 220, 7 Middleton 213, 8 Brighton & Hove 201, 9 BEXHILL 113, 10 Ansty 106.