Hastings Priory Cricket Club closed in on the promotion places following a convincing home victory today (Saturday).
Priory triumphed by six wickets against Burgess Hill in 1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two at a fairly bright but very windy Horntye Park.
Priory remain third in the table, but are now only two points behind a St James’s Montefiore side which occupies the second promotion place.
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The teams would have been level, in fact, had Priory claimed the final Burgess Hill wicket, but the visitors’ lower order put up dogged resistance.
In the first of nine consecutive timed games, where draws come into the equation, Burgess Hill in the end did well to post 171-9 from their 52 overs after choosing to bat.
The visitors looked like they would struggle to reach that sort of score for much of their innings as Priory had them 10-2, 80-6 and 102-8.
That they did so was mainly due to number six Nathan Cooper making 56, and receiving good support from number 10 Junaid Nadir (29 not out off 71 balls) and last man George Willett (8 not out off 40 balls).
All four Priory bowlers performed well and got among the wickets. Adam Barton bowled with real pace and good carry in taking 1-45 off 10 overs, while new ball partner John Morgan (3-27 off 12) was a constant threat off his shorter run.
Jed O’Brien claimed a wicket in his first over en route to claiming 3-60 off 16 and fellow spinner Elliot Hooper took 2-32 off 14, including the key wicket of number three Kevin Ramsay (31) just as he was starting to look dangerous.
Although Priory lost Ricardo De Nobrega for eight just 14 runs into their reply, decent partnerships for the next three wickets saw them to victory in 36.5 overs.
Home captain Tom Gillespie featured in all three of them as he made a game-high 57 off 82 balls with six fours and a six.
Gillespie put on 34 for the second wicket with Ryan Hoadley (22), 57 for the third wicket with Jake Woolley, who made 39 off 47 balls with seven fours, and 53 for the fourth wicket with Hooper until falling leg before to Nadir.
Hooper blasted Priory to victory with 30 not out off just 21 balls and Greg Devlin was unbeaten on 11 from nine deliveries at the other end. Nadir was Burgess Hill’s most successful bowler with 2-30 from 11 overs.
1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (played 6 matches unless stated): 1 Billingshurst 159pts, 2 St James’s Montefiore 144, 3 HASTINGS PRIORY 142, 4 Haywards Heath 115, 5 Bognor Regis (5) 106, 6 Burgess Hill 97, 7 Lindfield 88, 8 Chichester Priory Park 82, 9 Ifield 62, 10 Goring By Sea (5) 41.