Ricardo De Nobrega scored his maiden hundred for Hastings Priory Cricket Club in a draw away to fellow high-flyers St James’s Montefiore yesterday (Saturday).
The Australian overseas player struck a brilliant 132 from 135 balls to help Priory post 273-7 declared batting first before St James finished their reply on 215-7.
Despite picking up 13 points to their opponents’ nine, Priory have dropped a place to fourth in 1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two, although they are only 11 points behind new leaders Bognor Regis, who jumped up three places from fourth at the start of the day.
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St James chose to field on winning the toss, but Priory proceeded to pile on the runs with big partnerships for each of the first three wickets, all of them featuring De Nobrega.
An opening stand of 86 between De Nobrega and Joe Billings, who made 32 on his first Priory appearance of the season after returning from university in Leeds, gave the visitors a sound platform on which to build.
And build they did as De Nobrega and captain Tom Gillespie put on 66 for the second wicket until the latter fell for 38.
The good work continued with a third wicket partnership of 87 involving De Nobrega and Jake Woolley, which ended when De Nobrega finally fell having hit 13 fours and five sixes.
Woolley went on to make a run-a-ball 52 - his third fifty of the season - with two fours and four sixes, although wickets tumbled a bit in the latter part of the innings as Priory slid from 239-2 to their eventual total.
For St James, Sam Rattle finished with 5-104 from 20 overs and Michael Murray was the other wicket-taker with 2-55 from 14.
Priory then got off to a dream start with the ball, reducing St James to 1-2. Adam Barton had Harry Rollings caught by Greg Devlin for a third ball duck and then bowler the other opener, Hector Loughton, first ball.
Left-arm fast bowler Barton struck again soon afterwards, having James Hunt caught by De Nobrega for six to leave St James 15-3.
But half-century partnerships for the next two wickets, both involving Toby Pullan, halted Priory’s victory charge and went a long way to ensuring St James avoided defeat.
Pullan put on 70 for the fourth wicket with Joe Gilligan before the latter was bowled by Elliot Hooper for 19 and then 74 for the fifth wicket with Henry Sims until Pullan was stumped by Woolley off Jed O’Brien for a fine 84 off 92 balls with 10 fours.
O’Brien also dismissed Sims, this time leg before, for 41 to leave St James 171-6 and John Morgan had Jordan Shaw caught by Ryan Hoadley for 13, but Ollie Bradley (27 not out) and Murray (8 not out) secured the draw for St James.
Barton finished with 3-54 from 12 overs, O’Brien 2-35 from 12, Morgan 1-45 from 11 and Hooper 1-54 from 12.
1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two standings (all played 8 matches): 1 Bognor Regis 176pts, 2 St James’s Montefiore 173, 3 Billingshurst 171, 4 HASTINGS PRIORY 165, 5 Haywards Heath 156, 6 Burgess Hill 137, 7 Lindfield 128, 8 Chichester Priory Park 93, 9 Ifield 83, 10 Goring By Sea 65.