Hastings Priory Cricket Club was beaten by title-chasing opposition in the semi-finals of a county knockout competition.
Priory lost by eight wickets at home to Sussex Cricket League Premier Division title hopefuls Roffey in the last four of the Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup yesterday (Sunday).
Priory coach Ian Gillespie said: “It was a comfortable victory for Roffey. We were playing a very, very good side (which is) full of confidence and very good at limited overs cricket.
“They played very well and their fielding was fantastic. They adjusted to the wicket, which was slow and dry, and had good spin bowlers to take advantage.
“I think anything over 160 in club cricket is going to be a winning score. With 127 we were comfortably short of that and they won at a bit of a canter.
“We battled away in the field, as we did with the bat, but the better team won.”
On another warm afternoon at Horntye Park, Priory ultimately paid the price for a shortage of runs with the bat having been bowled out for 125 off the final ball of their allocation.
They got off to a bad start, falling to 7-2 after James Pooley was run out for four and captain Tom Gillespie was caught off Jamie Atkins for two.
Joe Billings and Elliot Hooper seemed to be getting Priory back on track as they put on 40 for the third wicket, but 47-2 soon became 59-6.
Hooper was caught off Rohit Jagota (4-0-18-1) for nine, Jake Woolley and Joe Billings fell to Luke Barnard (4-0-30-5) with the score 50 - Billings for a rapid 32 off 18 balls - and John Morgan also succumbed to Barnard seven runs later.
The lower middle order did pretty well to get Priory well into three figures and at least give them something to bowl at, with four of the last six batsmen reaching double figures.
Greg Devlin made 12 off 11 balls until being trapped leg before to Barnard, leaving Priory 79-7. Adam Pye hit 10 off nine before becoming Barnard’s fifth victim and Jed O’Brien scored 19 off 16 only to be caught off George Fleming (3-0-15-1).
Josh Beeslee and Jack Coleman added 19 useful runs for the last wicket. Coleman was stumped off the final ball for eight, leaving Beeslee 15 not out off 19 balls.
Priory really needed a strong start in reply if they were to defend that score. They began with spin from both ends, but Roffey advanced to 34-0 from the first four overs.
O’Brien (3-1-19-1) then came on and bowled a very rare T20 wicket maiden, having Ben Manenti caught by Woolley at backward point off a skier for 25 off 18 balls.
Priory started to come back into the game a bit and Coleman (2-0-13-1) struck in his first over by having Matt Davies well caught on the drive by Tom Gillespie for 18 with the score 54.
After a brief period of consolidation, Roffey stepped on the accelerator and raced to an ultimately comfortable victory with a flurry of boundaries.
Usman Khan was 37 not out off 30 balls and Jagota smashed an unbeaten 45 from 25 deliveries with six fours and two sixes as Roffey reached their target with four overs to spare.
Roffey’s reward is a final showdown against East Grinstead, who were comfortable winners away to Middleton in the other last four tie.
See also: * Hastings edged out by leaders despite Hooper heroics
* Hastings left with mountain to climb
Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)