Staying up ‘near impossible’

Freddie Hulbert batting for Hastings Priory against Horsham last weekend. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (SUS-140719-175302002)
Freddie Hulbert batting for Hastings Priory against Horsham last weekend. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (SUS-140719-175302002)

Hastings Priory first team coach Ian Gillespie has conceded that the cricket club faces an ‘almost impossible’ task to stay up.

Bottom-0f-the-table Priory are 43 points adrift of safety in the Sussex Premier League with seven games remaining having failed to win any of their 12 league matches so far.

Gillespie said: “I think we’ve gone beyond hero time now. We’re going to have to produce form that would exceed what the champions are showing at the moment.

“We’re going to have to win four, possibly even five, out of the seven league games we’ve got to go and whilst that’s possible, it’s a massive ask.

“It’s going to be very, very tough now and that’s assuming we don’t have any bad weather. I think it’s an almost impossible ask now for us to stay up.

“You can say we’ve just got to win four out of seven or whatever it may be, but the form of the last month has given very little indication that we’re going to win a game of cricket. It’s looking pretty desperate.”

Although Priory’s bowling and fielding has remained pretty good, their batting has failed to fire of late. They’ve been bowled out for under 130 in three of their last four league innings and have scored more than 170 only once in six league games.

Gillespie says Priory are in a three-way battle to avoid the two relegation places.

“It’s totally a three-way battle between Bexhill, Three Bridges and ourselves, and obviously they’ve got a massive points advantage,” he continued. “We would need to beat them both, and beat them quite well, and we would probably have to pick up a couple of wins from Cuckfield potentially and Roffey maybe.

“It’s looking really difficult. I’m not saying for a minute that we’ll give up on it and we’re as determined as ever to get out of it, but I think it’s fair to say now that confidence is very low and until you actually get the win, the belief isn’t there at the moment I don’t think.”

Next up for Priory is a trip to third-placed Roffey today (Saturday). Although Roffey are only four points off the top with a game in hand, Priory did beat them in an ECB Royal London Club Championship last 16 tie at Horntye Park 12 days ago to set up a quarter-final clash at Brentwood on August 3.

TODAY’S CRICKET FIXTURES

Sussex Cricket League, 1st XI Premier Division (12.30): Cuckfield v Bexhill; Roffey v Hastings Priory.

1st XI Division 2 (1): Crowhurst Park v Worthing.

1st XI Division 4 (1): Rye v Slinfold.

2nd XI Division 1 (1): Bexhill v Findon; Hastings Priory v Roffey.

2nd XI Division 3 (East) (1): Burgess Hill v Crowhurst Park; Lindfield v Rye.

East Sussex League (1.30), Division 1: Iden v Ditchling.

Division 2: Bells Yew Green v Battle; Robertsbridge v Newhaven.

Division 3: Little Common Ramblers v Willingdon.

Division 4: Bexhill III v Buxted Park II.

Division 5: Pett v Wadhurst.

Division 6: Blackboys v Iden II; Hastings Priory III v Linden Park III; Willingdon II v Udimore.

Division 7: Battle II v Rottingdean III; Burwash Weald v Mayfield II; Newhaven II v Robertsbridge II.

Division 8: Laughton II v Bexhill IV; St Peters III v Little Common Ramblers II.

Division 9: Bexhill V v Pett II; Sidley v Barcombe II.

Division 10: Maresfield II v Crowhurst Park III; Pevensey II v Rye III.

Division 11: Crowhurst Park IV v DPB II; Little Common Ramblers III v Glynde & Beddingham IV; Wadhurst II v Robertsbridge III.

Division 12: Rye IV v Newick IV; Westfield v Tunbridge Wells Borderers III.