Hastings battle hard but are well beaten

Jake Woolley made a battling 25 in Hastings Priory's nine-wicket defeat away to Preston Nomads.
Jake Woolley made a battling 25 in Hastings Priory's nine-wicket defeat away to Preston Nomads.

Hastings Priory Cricket Club endured another heavy defeat in the Sussex League Premier Division on Saturday.

Priory were beaten by nine wickets away to third-placed Preston Nomads and picked up just two points in the process.

After losing the toss and being asked to bat, Priory were all out for 148 in 53.2 overs. The innings was a story of batsmen getting starts without going on as six got into double figures but none made it to 35.

Things began reasonably enough as James Pooley and Joe Billings put on 29 for the first wicket until the former was bowled by Blair Tickner (6-0-16-1) for 16.

Billings and Greg Devlin then shared what turned out to be the highest partnership of the innings in adding 37 for the second wicket.

But 66-1 became 80-4 after Billings was bowled by Tim Moses (7-1-25-2) for 33, Devlin was caught off Navin Patel (16-6-41-1) for 11 and first team debutant Ben Ferguson was caught off Moses for four.

Jake Woolley and Tom Gillespie took the total into three figures before Gillespie was caught off Kashif Ibrahim (11-1-30-3) for 21, which contained the only six of the innings. John Morgan was leg before to the same bowler four runs later to leave Priory 112-6.

Jed O’Brien hit 19 off 29 balls until being caught off Ibrahim and five runs later Woolley’s determined knock of 25 from 84 deliveries was ended when he was leg before to Adam O’Brien (13.2-1-30-3), leaving Priory 143-8.

The final two wickets fell with the score 148, O’Brien dismissing Adam Barton for five and Adam Pye for a first ball duck.

Nomads raced to victory in reply, reaching their target in just 22.3 overs. Daniel Phillips blasted 94 off just 78 balls with 12 fours and three sixes, and put on 123 for the first wicket with Nathan Poole, who was still there at the end on 45 not out from 54 deliveries.

Josh Beeslee (6-0-36-1) was the only Priory wicket-taker and none of the five bowlers used went for less than a run-a-ball in the face of the Nomads onslaught.

Priory coach Ian Gillespie said: “We didn’t get enough runs. One of their overseas bowlers was swinging it both ways at a good pace and the other was genuinely quick so it was tough.

“Facing 85mph bowling, often at your head as well, is a test of your resolve and your technique because you’re just not used to that pace.

“The good thing was we really stuck in there and battled away hard, but we gave away too many soft wickets. Too many people got off to a start and then fell to soft dismissals, which just kills you.

“Confidence is low and we’re struggling to put runs on the board, and we’re not helping ourselves - I think that’s the biggest problem at the moment.

“Bowling-wise we couldn’t really exert any pressure. We didn’t go past the outside edge at all, and we were inconsistent with our line and length. They (the batsmen) could be pretty confident that a bad ball was on its way or something they could score off.

“We didn’t put enough balls in the right areas to cause pressure and that’s something we’ve got to rectify as well. There was also no scoreboard pressure in terms of time to score the runs so it does make it a lot easier (for the batsmen).”

Sussex Cricket League Premier Division standings (all played 8 matches): 1 Roffey 205pts, 2 East Grinstead 193, 3 Preston Nomads 165, 4 Brighton & Hove 155, 5 Horsham 153, 6 Eastbourne 132, 7 Cuckfield 106, 8 Middleton 100, 9 Ifield 85, 10 HASTINGS PRIORY 71.

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