Priory seek first league win at Bexhill since 2010

Sussex Academy cricketer Joe Billings is likely to come in to the Hastings Priory side against Bexhill tomorrow.
Sussex Academy cricketer Joe Billings is likely to come in to the Hastings Priory side against Bexhill tomorrow.

Hastings Priory’s cricketers are targeting a first Sussex Premier League victory away to neighbours Bexhill for seven years.

Priory will be itching to end a run of three consecutive league defeats at The Polegrove and five league derbies anywhere without a win against Bexhill when the local rivals lock horns tomorrow (Saturday).

“We’re due a good performance at The Polegrove,” said Priory coach Ian Gillespie. “The last few years we’ve found it a difficult place to go and play well and that’s something we’ve got to put right.

“It’s a different wicket from a lot we play on and that makes it a little bit more difficult sometimes for players to settle at the crease.”

Last weekend’s win at home to Brighton & Hove moved third-from-bottom Priory 41 points clear of Bexhill, who occupy the second and final relegation place.

“It’s always going to be difficult,” continued Gillespie. “Both teams will see it as an important game in the context of the season.

“They’re desperate for points and from what we’ve heard they’re viewing it as a derby which could kick-start their season. We would like to think we can win that game to keep our momentum going and if we can win, it will push us away from the bottom of the table.”

Priory have won three of their eight matches so far, two of the victories coming away from home, while Bexhill’s one win was away from The Polegrove.

“They’ve got some dangerous players and potential match-winners who perhaps haven’t quite fired as they would’ve liked this season,” Gillespie went on. “We’ve got to be on top of our game and make sure we make it as difficult as possible.

“I think both teams will be positive and looking to win it, and I think both teams will go at each other quite hard to try and get a win out of the game. I think there will be some very positive cricket played.

“I think the critical thing is we make a good account of ourselves. We feel if we play to our potential, we can challenge quite a few sides in that division.”

Bede’s students Joe Billings, Ryan Hoadley and Harry Scowen are due to be available for the derby, in addition to the XI who played last weekend, so one or two changes are expected. Play is due to get underway from 12noon.

In fact, it’s a big weekend for Priory on two fronts because they also have a Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup quarter-final away to Worthing on Sunday.

Worthing are third-from-bottom of Division Two so the tie represents a good opportunity for Priory to reach the semi-finals.

“It’s a difficult place to go, but we’ll be very keen to win that game,” added Gillespie, who expects to field a similar side in that game to tomorrow, although Jason Finch is unavailable.