Hastings beaten despite Hooper hundred

Elliot Hooper scored a century in Hastings Priory's defeat away to Haywards Heath
Elliot Hooper scored a century in Hastings Priory's defeat away to Haywards Heath

Hastings Priory Cricket Club dropped a place to third after suffering its second league defeat of the season yesterday (Saturday).

A superb Elliot Hooper hundred couldn’t prevent Priory losing by five wickets away to Haywards Heath in 1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two.

Priory are 17 points behind new leaders St James’s Montefiore and 15 adrift of Billingshurst, who dropped to second after being beaten by St James.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Priory posted 229-9 from their 45 overs having been 52-3 and 111-5.

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Priory openers Ricardo De Nobrega (22) and Tom Gillespie (15) put on 26 before two wickets fell for just one run. De Nobrega departed with the score 52, becoming the third victim of Jethro Menzies (9-0-41-3).

Hooper, who dislocated the top of a finger in a Sunday T20 Cup match against Eastbourne the previous weekend, came in at five and added 39 for the fourth wicket with Jake Woolley until Woolley was run out for 28.

When Greg Devlin fell for three, Priory were in need of a partnership and they got it as Hooper and Alex Coyle put on 95 for the sixth wicket.

Coyle, making just his third appearance for the first team, made 31 off 33 balls and offered very good support to Hooper, who went on to score 106 from 91 balls with nine fours and three sixes.

It was Hooper’s third Priory first team century and first since his memorable 100 not out against Roffey in the Premier Division three years ago. Benjamin Van Rensburg finished with 3-38 for Heath.

Priory made an early breakthrough in the field when John Morgan (9-2-26-3) had Menzies caught behind by Woolley for five with the score 18.

But decent partnerships for the next three wickets, all of them involving Jonny Phelps, put Heath in pole position.

Jonathan Young (20) and Ben Matthew (19) helped Phelps take the score to 125 before the third wicket fell, and Phelps himself was fourth man out with the score 162 having made 81 off just 72 balls with seven fours and five sixes.

By this stage Callum Smith was going along nicely too and he steered Heath to victory with 53 not out from 43 deliveries.

Chris Blunt (11) and Ollie Bailey (22 not out off 13 balls) also contributed as Heath got home with five wickets and four overs to spare.

In addition to Morgan’s three wickets, spinners Hooper and Jack Coleman chipped in with one apiece.

1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played 5 matches): 1 St James’s Montefiore 131pts, 2 Billingshurst 129, 3 HASTINGS PRIORY 114, 4 Bognor Regis 106, 5 Haywards Heath 105, 6 Burgess Hill 89, 7 Lindfield 82, 8 Chichester Priory Park 81, 9 Ifield 60, 10 Goring By Sea 41.