Hastings eager to end run of league losses

Adam Page batting for Hastings Priory during their Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup victory over Portslade on Sunday.
Adam Page batting for Hastings Priory during their Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup victory over Portslade on Sunday.

Hastings Priory’s cricketers will be hoping a return to home soil can help end their run of league defeats.

Priory will entertain third-placed East Grinstead today (Saturday) eager to halt a four-game losing streak in the Sussex Cricket League Premier Division.

Ryan Hoadley goes on the attack against Portslade.

Ryan Hoadley goes on the attack against Portslade.

“I can’t remember us having a run of this many defeats in a row even when we got relegated (in 2014),” said Priory coach Ian Gillespie.

“We’ve got to wait for something to come good. We’ve got a number of players who are struggling for confidence at the moment, which happens when you lose games, and we’ve got to get through that.

“With the exception of Joe Billings and Jake Woolley, there’s a lot of players who aren’t feeling as good as they could. They’re working hard and not playing disastrously; they just need a bit of confidence to get going and hopefully get a good score.”

With a third of the season gone, Priory occupy the final safe spot of third-from-bottom in a very congested lower part of the table. They are seven points above rock-bottom Middleton and six adrift of fourth-from-bottom Ifield.

James Pooley bowling for Priory against Portslade.

James Pooley bowling for Priory against Portslade.

“Overall the two key things are our inability to have a fully fit side on the pitch and missing key opportunities - opportunities that have been there and we’ve not taken.

“We’re playing good cricket for 50, 60, 70, 80 percent of games, apart from Saturday (when Priory lost by 10 wickets away to leaders Roffey), but we’re not converting it because we’re making mistakes. If we keep making those mistakes, we will get relegated.

“At the start of the season we did say it was going to be quite tight. The games have been quite tight and there’s not masses between all the teams at the moment. We probably just need that little bit of luck that arguably we’ve not had.

“It’s far from disastrous, and it’s not doom and gloom by any matter of means. Had we played anything like our potential, we would probably have another couple more wins and 40 or 50 more points on the board which would put us in the top four or five.”

Gillespie says Priory have ‘bowled alright’ so far this summer, although injuries have left their attack lacking balance. That should be addressed by the return of John Morgan today and hopefully Adam Barton, although his thumb injury is likely to prevent him from batting.

With Bede’s students Ryan Hoadley and Harry Scowen unavailable, Ben Ferguson may well come into consideration to make the step up from the second team. Play will get underway from 12noon at Horntye Park.

“When we’re all there, we’ve got a chance against anybody,” added Gillespie. “We’ve got to put some league form together.

“Probably we didn’t expect to come away with a win (against Roffey), but we just didn’t shape up with the bat at all and they completely outplayed us.

“You had a team struggling for form against a team absolutely on top of their game and which knows their game inside out.

“They just completely strangled us, set really tight fields, fielded brilliantly, bowled very, very straight and under the pressure we made mistakes.”

For a report on the Roffey game and Priory’s cup victory over Portslade on Sunday, click here.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played six matches): 1 Roffey 160pts, 2 Brighton & Hove 139, 3 East Grinstead 133, 4 Eastbourne 106, 5 Preston Nomads 105, 6 Horsham 99, 7 Ifield 75, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 69, 9 Cuckfield 68, 10 Middleton 62.

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