Priory beat Bexhill in tight final day derby

Bexhill batsman Tim Hambridge tries to work one off his legs. Pictures by Justin Lycett
Bexhill batsman Tim Hambridge tries to work one off his legs. Pictures by Justin Lycett

Hastings Priory got the better of Bexhill in a high scoring local derby on the final day of the Sussex Premier League cricket season.

Priory chased down a victory target of 229 with three wickets and 11 balls to spare for their first league win at home to Bexhill since 2012 and first league ‘double’ against them since 2010.

Hastings Priory pace bowler Adam Barton charges in.

Hastings Priory pace bowler Adam Barton charges in.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat in the Horntye Park sunshine, Bexhill posted their highest total of the season, reaching 228-8 from their 50 overs.

Tim Hambridge and James Walker got Bexhill off to a good start with an opening stand of 53, although the visitors then lost three wickets for 16 runs.

Walker was first to go, caught by Elliot Hooper off Adam Barton (10-0-60-2), for 15. Hambridge was leg before to Jack Coleman (5-0-36-1) for 29 with the score 63 and Shawn Johnson departed in the same fashion, to Hooper (10-0-45-2) for nine.

The in-form Malcolm Johnson then came to the crease and shared in good partnerships for the next two wickets to put Bexhill on their way to scoring 200-plus for the third game running.

Priory all-rounder Finn Hulbert in his delivery stride.

Priory all-rounder Finn Hulbert in his delivery stride.

He firstly added 41 for the fourth wicket with Jake Lewis, who made 20 before being caught by James Pooley off Hooper, and 87 for the fifth wicket with Johnathan Haffenden, who was eventually caught by Finn Hulbert off Barton for 35.

Hulbert (10-0-29-3) bagged the next three wickets himself, bowling Liam Bryant for a fifth ball duck and trapping Nick Peters leg before for two either side of bowling key man Johnson for a splendid 66 off 72 balls with seven fours and a six - his third half-century in four matches.

Ian May blasted 13 not out off nine balls to take Bexhill to maximum batting points for scoring 225. Although wicketless, John Morgan was the day’s most economical bowler, conceding just 24 runs from his 10 overs and delivering the only two maidens of Bexhill’s innings.

Priory, who bowled 24 wides to Bexhill’s two, proceeded to reach their target in 48.1 overs through a real collective effort. Although no batsman reached 40 - unusually for a score of that size - five made scores in the 30s, just enough to get them home.

Bexhill batsman James Walker goes for a drive.

Bexhill batsman James Walker goes for a drive.

Like Bexhill earlier on, Priory also had an opening stand of 53, involving James Pooley and Hulbert, who was promoted up the order. Both men fell to Josh Beeslee (10-1-54-3) within nine runs of each other, firstly Hulbert for 20 and then Pooley for 33 off just 28 balls.

Ryan Hoadley became Beeslee’s third victim, caught by Peters for nine, to leave Priory 88-3. Peters (10-0-37-1) went from catcher to bowler for the next wicket, having Priory captain Tom Gillespie caught by Shawn Johnson for a brisk 32 from 27 deliveries with three sixes.

Peters ran out form player Joe Billings for 36 to make it 151-5 as the game remained in the balance. Hooper and Harry Scowen added a useful 39 for the sixth wicket only to be undone by Hambridge (9-1-29-2) within five runs of each other, Scowen for 15 and then Hooper for 36.

That left Priory needing 34 runs and Bexhill three wickets, but it was the hosts who prevailed thanks largely to Morgan, who made a game-clinching unbeaten 32 from only 27 balls. Jake Woolley was four not out at the other end on his first league appearance for two months.

Final standings (all played 18 matches): 1 East Grinstead 432pts, 2 Roffey 419, 3 Cuckfield 367, 4 Horsham 362, 5 HASTINGS PRIORY 314, 6 Preston Nomads 281, 7 Middleton 273, 8 Brighton & Hove 250, 9 Ansty 186, 10 BEXHILL 155.