Hastings Priory coach Ian Gillespie praised a ‘superb performance’ after Elliot Hooper became the cricket club’s first player to take eight wickets in a first team game for three years.
The left-arm spinner returned figures of 8-50 from 23.5 overs during Priory’s 20-run defeat away to new Sussex Cricket League Premier Division leaders Brighton & Hove last weekend.
Gillespie said: “It was absolutely superb. It was a wicket that was helpful to spin bowling, but on a hot day, to sustain that for such a long period of time was very good.
“He’s been a great boost coming back into the team (after missing the first half of the season while on a work placement in Wiltshire). He’s a bubbly character, full of confidence and such a good all-round player.”
Adam Barton, incidentally, was the last Priory player to claim eight wickets when he took 8-24 in a Division Two match at home to Ifield in August 2015.
Despite the heroics of Hooper, who also effected a run out and scored 37 off 32 balls with the bat, Priory suffered a narrow defeat which has made their survival bid even more difficult.
They head into the last third of the league campaign second-bottom of the table and 40 points adrift of a Middleton side which occupies the final safe spot of third-bottom.
“We need to just relax and forget about anything to do with the league or the position,” continued Gillespie. “Try to relieve the pressure on the players as much as possible and hopefully we can find a bit of form. Go and enjoy a Saturday afternoon’s cricket and not worry too much about the results.”
Next up for Priory today (Saturday) is a local derby at home to a third-placed Eastbourne side which continued its fabulous season by amassing 331-5 declared during last weekend’s win at home to Ifield.
Priory still feel they missed an opportunity in May’s reverse fixture at The Saffrons as Eastbourne recovered from 44-4 to triumph by 121 runs.
“We should’ve won last time,” added Gillespie. “We don’t want to lose to Eastbourne and we need to win. There will be a bit of pride at stake.
“They seem to be scoring runs for fun at the moment. They’ve got a lot of good young players and they’re going to be a very difficult side to compete against, but we’ll do the best we can.”
Hooper is unavailable due to a family holiday and the injured Barton is likely to remain sidelined for around two weeks, but Ryan Hoadley and Harry Scowen are due back from holiday.
Play will get underway from 12noon at Horntye Park.
Sussex Premier League standings (all played 12 matches): 1 Brighton & Hove 271pts, 2 Roffey 267, 3 Eastbourne 252, 4 East Grinstead 235, 5 Horsham 224, 6 Preston Nomads 223, 7 Cuckfield 181, 8 Middleton 166, 9 HASTINGS PRIORY 126, 10 Ifield 107.
See also: * Hastings beaten in county cup semi-final
* Hastings edged out by leaders despite Hooper heroics
* Hastings left with mountain to climb
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