National cup run comes to an end

Adam Maharaj-Newman top-scored with 55 for Hastings Priory against Brentwood
Adam Maharaj-Newman top-scored with 55 for Hastings Priory against Brentwood
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Hastings Priory’s magnificent run in a national club cricket knockout competition has finally come to an end.

Priory went down by eight wickets away to Brentwood in the quarter-finals of the ECB Royal London Club Championship yesterday (Sunday).

Despite winning five matches to get to this stage, a Priory side lying bottom of the Sussex Premier League would have been heavy underdogs against a Brentwood team which is second in the Essex Premier League.

A youthful Priory chose to bat on winning the toss and were all out for 183 in 43.3 overs, nine balls before the end of their allocation at the Old County Ground.

Tom Gillespie was first man out for five with the score 15 and fellow opener Finn Hulbert, continuing in his pinch-hitting role, followed for 16 off 17 balls to make it 36-2.

Captain-for-the-day Adam Maharaj-Newman came in at four and led by example, but Priory lost two wickets for just one run, firstly Leo Cammish for 27 and then Elliot Hooper without scoring, to sit 65-4.

Maharaj-Newman and Freddie Hulbert forged a fine fifth wicket partnership of 65 to double the total only for both to fall with the score 130, firstly Hulbert for 15 and then Maharaj-Newman for a very good 55 off 78 balls with six fours.

Joe Lamb chipped in with 10 and Jake Woolley produced another quickfire knock at the back end of the innings by smashing 37 off 27 balls with four fours and a six, but his departure prompted the last three wickets to go down for three runs.

Priory were always likely to be up against it in the field, but Finn Hulbert picked up an early wicket by having Gareth James caught behind by Woolley for six with the score 14.

A second wicket stand of 106, however, put Brentwood firmly in charge. Jack Coleman eventually broke the partnership by having Tom Oakley caught by Woolley for a run-a-ball 53 containing eight fours and a six.

That proved to be Priory’s final success, though, as Jonathan Walford (66 not out off 105 balls with 10 fours) and Aaron West (46 not out off 41 balls with four fours and three sixes) guided Brentwood home in 34.5 overs.

Despite the defeat, it’s been a tremendous effort from the young Priory side to reach such an advanced stage thanks to wins over Bickley Park, Tunbridge Wells, Bexhill, East Grinstead and Roffey.