Hastings Priory’s cricketers will be eager to make their mark against one of the Sussex Premier League’s big guns when they host Horsham tomorrow (Saturday).
Although Priory have done well to win six of their first 14 league games, they’ve lost all six matches they’ve played against top four clubs so far.
Priory coach Ian Gillespie said: “We’ve been very well organised and very efficient at overcoming the weaker teams and making sure we win the game so from that point of view we’ve been very good. What we’ve yet to do - apart from Roffey away - is really compete with the top three sides so that’s what we’ll certainly be looking to do.
“We’ve still got a chance with Horsham, and we’ve got two probably upper mid-table teams with East Grinstead and Preston Nomads. We want to look to be competitive in those games and get ourselves into a position where we we can win or certainly take a good return so that’s the challenge for us and that’s the next step forward really.”
Priory slipped to seventh in the table, albeit only three points adrift of the top five, after picking up just two points from a rain-affected 10-wicket defeat at home to second-placed Cuckfield last weekend.
Priory’s innings was reduced from 58 overs to 41 following a two-hour rain delay when they were 60-4, but the runs required to accrue batting points remained the same, giving them a very difficult task.
“I think Cuckfield were a very good side and they’ve strengthened since we played them earlier in the season,” continued Gillespie. “It was always going to be a very difficult game for us, but the two heavy periods of rain we had conspired to make it very difficult for us to post a score.
“What you’re planning to put on the board after 58 overs suddenly became a canter for 40 overs and with a wet outfield as well, it made it very difficult for us to put any pressure on them.
“That was the frustration and although we got less overs, it didn’t affect the bonus points scores and we were unable to pick up what we expected from batting the full innings.
“I think we were quite confident we would get 200 even where we were at 60-4. We had depth to our batting, but the rain came and that was never going to be realistic from that point on so we left them with a comparatively easy target to chase. Everything went their way in terms of the weather.”
Asked if Priory were just unlucky on this occasion or if the regulations need reviewing, Gillespie said: “It’s a difficult one. If we’d been off for another 20 minutes the game would’ve been cut short to the point where it would’ve been abandoned and then we would’ve taken 10 points each.
“It didn’t work for us at all. Having said that, I think they were a good side and they would’ve won the game; it just would’ve been nice if we had taken 10 or 12 points out of the game.”
Priory are likely to field a similar side against Horsham tomorrow. Play will get under way from 12.30pm at Horntye Park.
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