Hastings Priory’s cricketers suffered yet another narrow defeat yesterday (Saturday).
Priory were edged out by five runs away to Brighton & Hove and are 53 points adrift of safety at the foot of the Sussex Premier League table.
Brighton were all out for 133 in 44.5 overs after winning the toss and choosing to bat. Priory got off to a super start with John Morgan dismissing Luke Wells for a golden duck and then trapping number three Lachlan Sperling LBW to leave Brighton 8-2.
The hosts got their innings back on track with a third wicket partnership of 78 - comfortably the highest of the match - until Sam Grant was caught and bowled by Priory captain George Campbell when one shy of his half-century.
Priory held sway for the rest of the Brighton innings as spinners Elliot Hooper and Dan Doram worked their way through the middle and lower order. Recent recruit Doram picked up his first Priory wicket when Alasdair Wilson was adjudged LBW for 32 to make it 97-4.
Hooper got in on the act nine runs later by having Alex Marsh caught behind by Leo Cammish and the next three Brighton wickets all fell with the score 117. Hooper bowled Jordan Rollings for 20 before Doram struck twice more.
Sussex Academy talent Hooper picked up the last two wickets to finish with 4-44 from 13.5 overs, while Doram returned superb figures of 3-4 off 10 overs, seven of which were maidens. Morgan earlier took 2-7 off six.
Priory’s top order has struggled a touch of late and the top four scored just 16 between them in reply. Indeed the visitors found themselves 19-3 after losing three wickets for just two runs.
Hopes were raised by a fourth wicket stand of 36 before Cammish (4 off 50 balls) and Campbell (34) departed within five runs of each other to make the score 60-5.
Handy contributions from Hooper (18) and Freddie Hulbert (20) kept Priory in the hunt. Doram (24 not out from 20 balls) then took on the mantle and Priory would have been scenting victory at 123-7 before losing three wickets for five runs to be bowled out for 128.
It was another case of what might have been for a Priory side which is still searching for its first league victory of the season despite being only wicket away from beating Three Bridges, East Grinstead and Eastbourne, and two away from beating Preston Nomads.
Priory are due to be back in action this afternoon with an ECB Royal London Club Championship last 16 tie at home to Sussex Premier League leaders Roffey. Play is scheduled to get underway from 1pm at Horntye Park.
Standings (played-points): 1 Roffey 10-208, 2 East Grinstead 11-194, 3 Preston Nomads 11-191, 4 Brighton & Hove 11-176, 5 Horsham 10-169, 6 Eastbourne 10-164, 7 Cuckfield 11-163, 8 BEXHILL 11-144, 9 Three Bridges 11-119, 10 HASTINGS PRIORY 10-91.