Hastings Priory Cricket Club began its 2018 season with a narrow defeat in the ECB Royal London Club Championship on Saturday.
The Sussex Cricket League Premier Division side was edged out by two wickets in an entertaining first round game at home to Kent League outfit Bickley Park.
Priory, who gave a debut to new signing Josh Beeslee, were bowled out for 112 in 39.3 overs after losing the toss and being asked to bat at Horntye Park.
No batsman got to 20, but five made it into double figures and got some useful time in the middle against a Bickley side for whom Warren Lee and Michael Ridley each took three wickets.
Priory made a reasonable enough start with an opening partnership of 32 between James Pooley (16) and Tom Gillespie (14) until both fell within a run of each other.
Harry Scowen made 13 at number four and number five Alfie Lloyd-Dyke top-scored with 19, but after he was fifth man out with the score 79, Priory subsided to 92-9.
Adam Barton (10) and last man Mick Glazier (5 not out) added 20 for the final wicket to at least take the total into three figures.
Bickley appeared on course for a quickfire victory as Ryan Davies smashed a game-high 41 off just 23 balls at the start of their reply until falling to Beeslee with the score 53.
Wickets fell steadily thereafter, but Bickley appeared well on course as they reached three figures five down. Jed O’Brien snapped up two wickets with the score 101, including Adeel Malik (17), and Pooley claimed another seven runs later, before Bickley scraped home.
O’Brien took 2-42 off eight overs and Beeslee 2-19 off eight, while John Morgan (8-4-24-1), Jack Coleman (7-1-19-1) and Pooley (2.2-1-4-1) took a wicket each.
Priory will take on Mayfield in a friendly this coming Saturday before travelling to Seaford in the Sussex T20 Cup on Saturday April 28. Their league campaign will begin on Saturday May 5.
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