Hastings coach: We’re good enough to get promoted

Adam Barton bowling for Hastings Priory Cricket Club against Burgess Hill earlier this month. Picture by Simon Newstead
Adam Barton bowling for Hastings Priory Cricket Club against Burgess Hill earlier this month. Picture by Simon Newstead

Hastings Priory coach Ian Gillespie believes the cricket club is good enough to go on and clinch promotion this season.

Priory are embroiled in a closely-contested battle at the top of 1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two approaching the midway point of the season.

Gillespie said: “I believe we’re good enough to (get promotion). We’re going to need our fair share of luck and play to our potential, but I see no reason why we can’t finish in the top two.”

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With two teams to go up at the end of the season, Priory are currently in fourth place, albeit only 11 points off the top. The closeness of the competition was illustrated when Bognor Regis jumped from fourth to first last weekend.

“I think there’s good competition for those places so we’re certainly going to have to be on top of our game,” continued Gillespie.

“Last time (Priory won promotion in 2015) there was two or three teams in the hunt, but I would say there’s five or six in the hunt this time.

“I would say Haywards Heath are right up there with St James’s (Montefiore) as one of the best teams we’ve faced, Bognor are a good side and clearly Billingshurst’s bowling attack is very strong. There’s definitely everything to play for.”

Priory’s next two games are at home to the division’s bottom two clubs. They will host second-bottom Ifield tomorrow (Saturday) and rock-bottom Goring By Sea next weekend.

“The next two are very important,” Gillespie added. “We will be massively disappointed if we couldn’t win those two. Being a timed game it could be difficult if they decide to be obdurate, but we would still back ourselves to bowl them out.”

Injured fast bowler Adam Pye is still a couple of weeks away from being fit enough to bowl, although with batsmen Greg Devlin and Jake Woolley on holiday, he could come in as a batsman, as he did for the second team last weekend. Alex Coyle will also come into the equation.

With Woolley away, Joe Billings will keep wicket. Play will get underway from 12.30pm at Horntye Park.

1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played 8 matches): 1 Bognor Regis 176pts, 2 St James’s Montefiore 173, 3 Billingshurst 171, 4 HASTINGS PRIORY 165, 5 Haywards Heath 156, 6 Burgess Hill 137, 7 Lindfield 128, 8 Chichester Priory Park 93, 9 Ifield 83, 10 Goring By Sea 65.