Hastings & St Leonards Priory edge closer to promotion after convincing win

Hastings captain Tom Gillespie. Picture courtesy of Simon Newstead.
Hastings captain Tom Gillespie. Picture courtesy of Simon Newstead.

Hastings & St Leonards Priory captain Tom Gillespie has admitted his side are 'in a great position' after their three-wicket victory over Lindfield on Saturday.

Hastings extended their lead at the top of Division 2 to 25 points after second-placed Bognor Regis' game was cancelled due to weather, and now have their destiny in their own hands.

Visitors Lindfield won the toss and elected to bat, but despite a solid start to the innings, failed to post a score that massively troubled the league-leaders.

Apoorv Wankhade (74) topscored for Lindfield but when he was dismissed off the bowling of John Morgan to take the total to 126-5, the away side crumbled and scored just 50 more runs to register a total of 176 all out after 43.4 overs.

Adam Page (3-49) and Elliot Hooper (3-26) caused the Lindfield batsmen the most problems, with John Morgan (2-36) and Adam Barton (2-34) also contributing to ensure the home side claimed all ten bowling points on offer.

With the bat, Elliot Hooper was again the danger man for Hastings as he topscored with 62 before being dismissed off the bowling of Simon Shivnarain, while Jake Woolley (37) and Joe Billings (34) also scored well to help their side to 178-8 after 36.1 overs and all 30 points.

Hastings captain Tom Gillespie was pleased with his side's performance as they edged closer to promotion to the Premier Division, praising the way they took 'control'.

He said: "I think it was a decent performance. They have a good batting line up and one exceptional batter. We were able to frustrate him and keep them to a modest total on the wicket which was good. Yes, we made it slightly difficult for ourselves in the end, but I think the way Joe Billings, Elliot Hooper and Jake Woolley batted, we were in control for most of it."

He continued: "We're in a great position, and with the weather and Goring doing us a favour, it gives us a boost for sure. We probably need one more win and a big return but if St James hammer us next week and the other two teams win, it'll be a tense last game, so we just need to keep playing well and hopefully get over the line."

Hastings host St James' Montefiore on Saturday, going into the game looking to take one step closer to promotion, but captain Gillespie remains cautious of the threat his opponents pose.

He said: "They have a good bowling attack which we were able to do well against away with Ricardo De Nobrega getting a big hundred. They also have good and experienced batters so they will put us under pressure for 90 overs and we will need to play well to win."

A win for Hastings this weekend would all but confirm their spot in the Premier Division for next season, while a defeat would leave the door wide open for the chasing pack, so with just two games to go, anything can still happen.