Elliot Hooper starred as Hastings Priory’s cricketers fought out a draw away to Preston Nomads in a battle between last year’s league and cup winners yesterday (Saturday).
Priory - the 2013 Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup winners - looked the more likely winners before a Nomads side which has won the Sussex Cricket League title for five of the last six years stood firm for the draw.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Priory were all out for 195 from their full allocation of 58 overs. Priory captain George Campbell promoted himself to the top of the order and was first man out for 12 with the score 21, caught behind off Carl Simon.
Campbell’s departure initiated a steady fall of wickets which led to Priory finding themselves 77-5. Antiguan paceman Simon, a prolific Sussex League wicket-taker for a number of years now, dismissed three of the visiting top four, including Harry Finch for a determined 28 off 78 balls, and ran out the other.
Priory needed a partnership to develop, and Hooper and Freddie Hulbert duly delivered with a sixth wicket stand of 80 which eventually ended when Hooper was caught and bowled by Rebecca Silk (3-21 off seven overs) on her Sussex Premier League debut for a game-high 51 off 56 balls with four fours and two sixes.
Finn Hulbert chipped in with 12 before Priory lost their next three wickets for just two runs, including Freddie Hulbert for a valuable 39 from 85 deliveries. Henry Smith and Jack Coleman added 14 for the last wicket as Priory finished just shy of the 200 mark.
Priory got off to a very good start in the field, reducing Nomads to 22-3 with Imrad Javed, Freddie Hulbert and Finn Hulbert - the latter promoted to the first team in place of the injured Mick Glazier - taking a wicket each.
Nomads were 48-4 when Hooper had Aaron Phillips (17) caught behind by Leo Cammish and then 69-5 after the same bowler dislodged James McKemey for 26. Nomads had a productive sixth wicket partnership of their own as Kashif Ibrahim and Stuart Faith put on 42 until the latter became Hooper’s third victim for 22.
Campbell struck seven runs later and when the excellent Hooper (4-30 off 17 overs) had Simon caught behind to leave Nomads 133-8, Priory would’ve been scenting victory. Ibrahim (42 not out) and Daniel Phillips (13 not out) kept them at bay, however, as Nomads ended their 52 overs on 159-8.
All eight wickets Priory claimed, incidentally, were the result of catches with Cammish and Henry Smith holding three each, and Campbell taking the other two. It was Priory’s third draw in four league matches so far.
Priory will be back in action this afternoon with an ECB Royal London Club Championship third round tie away to neighbours Bexhill. Play is due to get underway from 1pm at The Polegrove.