Hastings Priory’s cricketers ended a run of three successive Sussex Premier League defeats with a very welcome first home league win of the season.
Priory won by five wickets against Brighton & Hove, aided by a half-century from returning captain Tom Gillespie, yesterday (Saturday) to move 41 points clear of the two relegation places.
Brighton won the toss and chose to bat at Horntye Park, but Priory restricted them to 175-9 from their 40 overs with John Morgan and Elliot Hooper taking three wickets each.
Priory got off to the best possible start, Adam Barton (6-1-24-1) having Bryce Hounsome caught behind by Leo Cammish for a third ball duck before a run had been scored.
The home side picked up wickets steadily thereafter, never allowing a sizeable partnership to build. Finn Hulbert ran out Christopher Atherton for 15 with the score 33 before Morgan (9-1-39-3) picked up the next three wickets, two of them bowled, to leave Brighton 71-5.
Hooper (10-2-35-3) got in on the act with the key wicket of opener Liam Smith for 62 with the score 102. He then pinned Chris Grammer leg before for 16 and when fellow spinner Jed O’Brien (4-1-22-1) dismissed Adam Mates for 10, Brighton were 119-8.
Number nine Chris Mates made a very good 43 not out off 42 balls, though, as Brighton added 56 more runs, despite Hooper claiming his third victim with the score 141. The unbroken last wicket stand of 34 between Chris Mates and Stan Harrison (8 not out) was the highest of the innings.
Priory raced to victory in reply, reaching their target in less than 26 overs with five wickets to spare.
They got off to a decent start with a half-century opening stand between Jason Finch (23) and James Pooley (22 off 20 balls) only for both to be dismissed by Simon Hetherton (13-4-35-4) within a run of each other.
Gillespie, back in the first team for the first time since dislocating his shoulder on the opening day of the league season, then took charge. He added 38 for the third wicket with Cammish (15) and 53 for the fourth wicket with Hooper - the highest partnership of the match.
By the time Gillespie became Hetherton’s fourth victim for 58 off just 40 balls with 10 fours and two sixes, Priory only needed 32 more runs with six wickets left.
Hooper departed for 31 off just 24 deliveries with the score 159, but Morgan (2 not out) and Hulbert (16 not out off 12 balls) ensured Priory cantered past the winning post.
Sussex Premier League standings (all played 8 matches): 1 Cuckfield 198pts, 2 Roffey 195, 3 East Grinstead 194, 4 Horsham 187, 5 Preston Nomads 169, 6 Middleton 147, 7 Brighton & Hove 120, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 117, 9 BEXHILL 76, 10 Ansty 54.