Crowhurst Park and Hastings Priory are set to go head-to-head in the Sussex Cricket League for the first time ever.
Local pride and important Division Two points will be at stake when the near neighbours meet at the Walcott Ground in Telham today (Saturday). Play is due to start at 1pm.
Park captain Paul Brookes said: “Again it’s an historical moment because we’ve never played Priory in the league. I know my boys are looking forward to it and obviously we’ll try to put a performance in.”
Park have risen their way up from the East Sussex League to their present level - which is the highest they’ve played at - whereas Priory are playing outside the Sussex top flight for the first time.
While the history of the two clubs is very different, the same can be said of their respective seasons so far. Priory are 17 points clear at the top of the table, while Park are 66 points adrift at the bottom.
Priory have won six of their eight games so far, whereas Park have lost all of theirs and the sides are separated by 158 points.
Again it’s an historical moment because we’ve never played Priory in the league.Paul Brookes
“Away at Crowhurst Park is always going to be difficult,” said Priory first team coach Ian Gillespie. “It’s a derby game, which they will be up for I’m sure. We’ve got to play well there to win that.”
Although Priory appear hot favourites, Park would love nothing more than to pick up their first league victory of 2015 against their neighbours.
“There’s nothing to stop us getting our first win against one of the top sides,” continued Brookes. “They’re a good side, but at least they’re playing on our ground and we’ll go out there with the belief that we can start our season with that game.”
Colin Ayres is expected to replace Victor Walcott for Park, who are hopeful Clive Tong will be fit. Priory may well be unchanged with key fast bowler Adam Barton still sidelined by injury.
“Adam Barton’s got an injury to his foot which may keep him out for a few weeks and he’s been the real cutting edge of the bowling,” added Gillespie.
“We are a little bit worried about the seam bowling, but we’ve taken 74 wickets out of 80 and the bowling - just like the batting - if we do have a wobbly patch, others are chipping in.
“At the moment we’re playing some quite good cricket - touch wood. Obviously we would like to continue that run, but we certainly can’t under-estimate the task ahead.”
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