Priory pipped in tight derby

Tom Gillespie and Leo Cammish at the crease for Hastings Priory against Eastbourne. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (SUS-140628-175259002)
Tom Gillespie and Leo Cammish at the crease for Hastings Priory against Eastbourne. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (SUS-140628-175259002)

Hastings Priory’s cricketers were narrowly beaten in a key local derby yesterday (Saturday).

Priory were edged out by one wicket at home to Eastbourne - an identical result to the previous weekend’s loss at East Grinstead - and are still searching for their first Sussex Premier League victory of the season.

After winning the toss and batting for the fourth consecutive league game, Priory were all out for exactly 200 thanks largely to another fine innings from Leo Cammish.

Priory were without the services of Harry Finch, who played for Sussex against Middlesex in the NatWest T20 Blast on Friday evening, so young prospect Joe Billings was given his chance at the top of the order following a good knock for the seconds seven days previously.

Billings made 21 before being trapped LBW by former Priory seamer Matt Cooke. Fellow opener Tom Gillespie batted well alongside number three Cammish before falling to Dominic Shepheard when just three short of his half-century.

Although Cammish was still going strong, Priory rather lost their way thereafter with only two of the final eight batsmen reaching double figures against a seventh-placed Eastbourne side.

Imran Javed made a run-a-ball 15 on what’s expected to be his final appearance in a Priory shirt and Elliot Hooper hit a useful 25, but the last four batsmen scored just six between them as Cammish ran out of partners.

Cammish ended unbeaten on 74 from 119 balls with nine boundaries - his sixth Priory half-century of the season. Jonathan Phelps was the most successful Eastbourne bowler with 4-47.

Priory got off to the perfect start in the field when John Morgan claimed the scalp of Sussex professional Callum Jackson for a duck, but Shepheard came in at three and fashioned a rapid 79 off 81 balls to fire Eastbourne towards their target.

The likes of Dan Wells (17), Luke Tomsett (27) and Phelps (24) provided useful support for Shepheard, but Priory kept chipping away at the Eastbourne batting to stay very much in the game.

Zane Hartley made a crucial 29 off 31 balls at number eight and number 10 Jordy Watts saw Eastbourne scrape over the line with 10 not out as Priory were left to rue another close game going against them.

Morgan finished with 3-44, Jack Coleman and Adam Barton picked up two wickets apiece, and there was one each for Henry Smith and Hooper. Priory moved off the foot of the table despite the result, but are 25 points adrift of safety.

Standings (played-points): 1 East Grinstead 9-170, 2 Roffey 8-168, 3 Preston Nomads 9-152, 4 Brighton & Hove 9-145, 5 Horsham 8-143, 6 Cuckfield 9-124, 7 Eastbourne 8-124, 8 Three Bridges 9-103, 9 HASTINGS PRIORY 8-78, 10 BEXHILL 8-75.