A devastating innings from James Pooley fired Hastings Priory’s cricketers to a local derby victory yesterday (Saturday).
The opening batsman blasted an unbeaten 97 from just 55 balls to clinch a six-wicket win away to Eastbourne in round one of the Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup.
Pooley smashed 11 fours and four sixes in a fabulous knock as Priory reached their target with five balls to spare on a sunny afternoon at The Saffrons.
Eastbourne earlier posted 155-9 from their 20 overs after Priory won the toss and chose to field. The visitors made a terrific start, with Jed O’Brien (4-1-19-3) and Adam Barton (4-0-20-1) - fresh off playing for Sussex in the Specsavers County Championship the previous weekend - bowling well to reduce Eastbourne to 17-3.
Eastbourne made a splendid recovery, though, with a fourth wicket partnership of 106 at a decent rate between Mark Tomsett (65 off 41 balls with eight fours and two sixes) and Jacob Smith (41 off 37 with five fours).
Priory debutant Matt Cammish (4-0-29-3) eventually broke the partnership by dismissing Smith and Eastbourne’s next three batsmen all failed to score as they slipped to 129-7, Cammish removing the first of them and Jack Coleman (4-0-48-2) the next two.
Cammish claimed his third victim by ending Tomsett’s excellent knock to make it 135-8. Albert Pennington hit a quick 16 off nine balls until being bowled by the returning O’Brien in the final over.
Priory’s reply was really all about Pooley. None of the other batsmen made it to 20, although they did provide enough support for the hard-hitting opener to get the job done.
Pooley put on 52 for the opening wicket with O’Brien (12 off 19 balls) as the innings got off to a decent start. Leo Cammish fell for nine to leave the score 69-2 before captain Tom Gillespie hit 16 off 14 balls in a third wicket stand of 43.
Unlike Priory, Eastbourne were unable to pick up wickets in clusters and the visitors were up to 144 by the time Jake Woolley was run out for seven.
George Eldridge chipped in with seven not out off five balls at the end as Priory completed their second cup success in a week, thanks largely to the brilliance of Pooley.
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