Hastings Priory’s cricketers clinched an instant return to the Sussex Premier League courtesy of a final day derby victory.
Priory, who were relegated from the top flight last summer, made sure of the runners-up spot in Division Two with a 101-run win at home to Crowhurst Park on Saturday.
A half-century from Jake Woolley and six wickets for Adam Barton were the key features as Priory made it eight wins (and a draw) from their nine matches at Horntye Park this season.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat in dull conditions, Priory recovered from losing both opening batsmen without scoring to total 190-6 declared in 49 overs.
Number three Joe Lamb helped get things back on track with 38, while Woolley made 65 containing six fours and three sixes. It was the highest of Woolley’s three fifties this season and he was accelerating nicely through the gears as the innings progressed until being superbly caught on the boundary by a combination of two Park fielders.
Adam Maharaj-Newman and Finn Hulbert (17 not out off 9 balls) added quick runs at the end, prompting Priory to declare four overs early. Maharaj-Newman’s 40 not out was his highest first team score this summer.
Park captain Paul Brookes bowled unchanged throughout the innings to finish with fine figures of 4-69 from 25 overs. Bradley Payne also did well to take 1-19 off nine overs and Matt Peters was the other wicket-taker.
Park have struggled for runs in most games this season, but this was the first time they failed to reach three figures as they were all out for 89 in 40 overs.
They too lost both openers cheaply as left-arm quick Barton again made early inroads. Although Fox Parker made a battling 18 off 63 balls and Rakesh Patel (14) also got to double figures, wickets continued to fall.
Eighth wicket pair Ed Smissen (21 not out off 51 balls) and Matt Peters (5 off 41) threatened to frustrate Priory, but Barton eventually trapped Peters leg before and dismissed the final two batsmen for ducks to spark joyous scenes among the Priory players.
Barton finished with 6-22 from 13 overs - the third time this season he has taken six wickets or more. The other wicket-takers were Jed O’Brien, whose 2-21 off nine overs gave him 54 league victims for the summer, and John Morgan (2-18 off six overs). Elliot Hooper (0-11 off six) also bowled well and was unlucky to remain wicketless.
Sussex Division Two final standings (all played 18 matches): 1 Worthing 403pts, 2 HASTINGS PRIORY 391, 3 Three Bridges 378, 4 Lindfield 367, 5 St James’s Montefiore 332, 6 Ifield 322, 7 Pagham 316, 8 Ansty 289, 9 Findon 242, 10 CROWHURST PARK 120.
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