Hastings eager to build on strong start

Hastings Priory coach Ian Gillespie.
Hastings Priory coach Ian Gillespie.

Hastings Priory Cricket Club is eager to build on its winning start to the league season as it prepares for its opening home game.

Priory will entertain Middleton in the Sussex Cricket League Premier Division today (Saturday, 12noon start) buoyed by their 43-run victory away to Ifield last weekend. For a report on that match click here.

Priory coach Ian Gillespie said: “I said last week how important these first four games are going to be. Now we’ve got Brighton and Middleton at home, and Eastbourne away, and if we can get another win and a couple of good results out of that, that will set us up quite nicely.

“We won’t get ahead of ourselves, but the encouraging are we’ve bowled well as a unit. The bowlers have gelled well and we’ve supported them well in the field.

“We’ve batted on a couple of pretty tricky wickets so far. Our batters have got to reflect and make sure we’re better prepared to play on early season wickets.”

Conditions may be kinder for batting at Horntye Park today than at Ifield Green last weekend - when less than 250 runs were scored all day - as Priory take on a Middleton side which finished two places below them, but which beat them twice last summer.

“For some reason they proved a bit of a bogey team and outplayed us,” continued Gillespie. “They did have a very strong batting line-up last year and did us on both occasions. We would like to recover and respond to that.

“At home we would like to think we’ve got a good shot. We’ll be confident of playing good, competitive cricket. Hopefully it should be a decent batting wicket so it could give us a bit more chance with the bat.”

Priory are likely to field a similar side to last weekend, although they may be bolstered by the presence of a seam bowling all-rounder from South Africa who they are looking to sign as an overseas player the summer.

Alistair Maasch, who plays for the Rondebosch club in Cape Town, could be added to the Priory side if his registration is completed in time. He attended net practice at Horntye Park on Tuesday evening.

Gillespie said: “He’s very keen on his cricket and he’s a good club cricketer. He wants to experience playing over here as much as he can.

“He’s on holiday and he’s got relatives in Battle. I don’t know how long he’s going to stay for, but he’s quite keen to play some cricket in this country.

“He plays at a good standard over there (in his homeland) and hopefully he will add a bit more depth to the batting while we’ve not got Elliot (Hooper).”

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