'We won’t go in to any game not trying to win' - Hastings skipper ready for the August Cup
Hastings captain Tom Gillespie says his side will go into the August Cup looking to win every game - but is also happy just to be playing the game.
The 40-over competition was brought in to replace the abandoned Sussex Cricket League. And the majority of clubs have entered.
And in the round robin, Hastings are in group A2 and will face East Grinstead, Eastbourne, Cuckfield, Haywards Heath and Mayfield.
They kick off on Saturday by hosting Haywards Heath.
After the round robins, a finals event will take place in the first two weekends of September - but these details have yet to be finalised.
And Gillespie believes the competition was the only option.
He said: “The league format would have struggled, potentially getting relegated with only nine games and an uneven home/away split and the high chance of the British weather intervening didn’t seem fair and this offers a solution to provide some competitive cricket where players can just relax and enjoy themselves.
"We are happy with the group and we are a bit resigned to having to travel so as expected.
“We have strong teams across the group, a 40-over split gives us a chance to be competitive but to be honest I think just happy to be playing. We won’t go in to any game not trying to win but I think availability could dictate exactly what we can achieve this year.”
And after being promoted to the Premier Division, Gillespie believes his squad was strong. He said: “I think going in to the season we were as strong as we could be.
“The return to the Premier meant we needed to recruit well and we were fortunate with some players getting back fit. Everyone seems to think it’s worth it but we will likely miss a few here and there as people have other plans to make the most of the rest of the summer.”
And, like all clubs, Hastings will not have an overseas, although they had one lined up in the shape of Sri Lankan Prasansana Jayamanne - who played for Ifield last season.
Gillespie said: “Yes we signed Pras after he scored about 190 runs against last year but unfortunately he won’t be over this year.
“He’s a top player so we’ll be interested but there are quite a few variables between now and next year so we’ll have to reassess at a later date.”
And Gillespie is just happy to be back playing after a long frustrating wait. The club have played an intra-club game and a friendly against Mayfield. Gillespie said: “I think everyone was a little anxious to see how it worked under some new regulations but it’s just great to be playing.
“It was frustrating, a lot of people give up a lot of time to keep our club and every club alive and hopefully performing on the pitch so to see that potentially going to waste is far from what anyone wants.”
August 1 fixtures
Group A2: Cuckfield v Eastbourne; East Grinstead v Mayfield; Hastings & St Leonards Priory v Haywards Heath.
Group A8: Crowhurst Park v Rye; Eastbourne 2nd XI v Bexhill; Seaford v Hastings & St Leonards Priory 2nd XI.
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