It’s been a struggle to get football matches played during the recent wet weather, but Hastings Priory Cricket Club is about to begin its 2018 season.
The Sussex Premier League side will entertain Bickley Park in round one of the ECB Royal London Club Championship tomorrow (Saturday). Play is due to start at 12noon at Horntye Park.
Priory coach Ian Gillespie said: “Hopefully, weather-permitting, it will all be up and running. It will be a useful competitive warm-up for the league.
“It’s going to be very slow after the wet spring we’ve had and it’s a big adjustment to be made for the players having been practising indoors.
“Everyone will be in the same position. When you go into a game like this, you want your batsmen to get some time in the middle and get a few runs, and bowlers to get comfortable with bowling overs and think about bowling plans, and getting a bit of confidence and form to kick on into the season.”
Priory will again be captained by Tom Gillespie and are likely to include a trio of new signings. Spin bowler Josh Beeslee has joined from local rivals Bexhill, while batsman Greg Devlin and seam bowler Adam Pye have made the step up from Hellingly.
Fast bowler Adam Barton is set to feature before beginning a contract with the MCC Young Cricketers.
Gillespie said: “It’s nice for the club another player is progressing to a higher level of cricket. The frustrating thing for us is we lose a very, very talented player and potential match-winner.”
Priory (possible): Gillespie (c), Pooley, Hoadley, Scowen, Morgan, Devlin, Pye, O’Brien, Barton, Coleman, Beeslee.
Priory are set to lose several members of the team which secured a second successive top half finish in the league last summer.
Talented all-rounder Finn Hulbert is expected to remain in Liverpool, where he is at university, for the summer and well-liked wicketkeeper/batsman Leo Cammish has decided the travelling from his home in the Sevenoaks area has got too much.
As expected, Jason Finch has returned to former club Mayfield after a season back with Priory last summer.
Key all-rounder Elliot Hooper is currently on a work placement in Wiltshire and probably won’t feature regularly during the early part of the campaign.
Priory at present aren’t pursuing an overseas player and Gillespie admits the squad is probably a couple of players light of where he would like it to be, particularly with seam bowling cover.
Priory will contest first and second team friendlies against Mayfield next weekend, and a Sussex T20 Cup first round tie at Seaford on Saturday April 28 before beginning their league programme away to newly-promoted Ifield on Saturday May 5.
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