Hooper stars again in close-fought Hastings draw

Elliot Hooper produced another splendid all-round display for Hastings Priory against Ansty. Picture by Derek Martin
Elliot Hooper produced another splendid all-round display for Hastings Priory against Ansty. Picture by Derek Martin

Hastings Priory’s cricketers had to make do with a draw from a close-fought encounter at home to bottom-of-the-table opposition yesterday (Saturday).

Elliot Hooper continued his golden week with a superb all-round display as Priory ended up 16 runs from victory but one wicket defeat against Ansty in the Sussex Premier League.

Fresh off a an unbeaten half-century and six wickets in an innings for Sussex seconds, Hooper took four wickets and scored 73 not out in the Horntye Park sunshine.

It was disappointing result for Priory, who were seeking a fourth consecutive win in all competitions, against an Ansty side which had lost all of its nine previous league matches. But the 13 points they accrued did at least move Priory up two places to sixth in the table.

Ansty posted 241-9 from their 58 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat. Sam Palser’s half-century was the highlight of an innings in which nine players reached double figures but eight of them were dismissed for scores between 10 and 32.

Priory made an early breakthrough when Finn Hulbert (8-0-28-1) trapped Jonathan Parker leg before with just four on the board. Hooper ran out Tommy Green (12) 22 runs later and then bowled Christopher Barnes (18) to leave Ansty 53-3.

And when Jed O’Brien (11-0-53-1) bowled Jethro Menzies (14), soon followed by Hooper pinning opener Harry Towler (32) leg before, Priory looked in a strong position with the score 84-5.

But a sixth wicket stand of 80 virtually doubled Ansty’s score. And although George Campbell broke the partnership by having Palser caught by Tom Gillespie for 54, Ansty’s lower order batted well to take them past maximum batting points.

Jake Wilson (31), William Wright (23), Jack Palser (25 not out) and Ben Towler (10) scored valuable runs, while Campbell and Hooper between them picked up the last three wickets, Hooper finishing with 4-81 from 18 overs and Campbell 2-31 off nine on his first outing of the season.

Priory’s quest to chase down the runs wasn’t helped by losing three of their top five without scoring, including opener James Pooley with the score just two.

Jason Finch and Joe Billings put on 60 for the second wicket, but the departure of Billings for 30 off 33 balls triggered something of a collapse with three wickets going down for seven runs.

Finch, who scored a century in May’s reverse fixture, went on to make 53 before being fifth man out with the score 99. Hooper was now nicely into his stride and helped advance the score to 142 before Campbell departed for nine.

Hulbert hit a quick 19 off 16 balls, but he and John Morgan fell with the score 172 as Ansty scented a first win of the season. O’Brien provided Hooper with useful support until being trapped leg before for 15 to leave Priory on the brink at 210-9.

Hooper was still going strong, though. He made his way to his highest Priory score of the summer and helped the team to another point for reaching 225. Priory finished on 226-9 from 52 overs, with last man Jack Coleman 2 not out from 10 balls.

Ansty were deducted two points for a slow over rate.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 9 matches): 1 Roffey 255pts, 2 East Grinstead 254, 3 Horsham 225, 4 Cuckfield 213, 5 Preston Nomads 185, 6 HASTINGS PRIORY 160, 7 Brighton & Hove 153, 8 Middleton 153, 9 BEXHILL 89, 10 Ansty 73.