Hastings quick to signal intent in promotion bid

Hastings Priory pace bowler Adam Pye charges in during last weekend's victory away to Goring By Sea. Picture by Derek Martin Photography
Hastings Priory pace bowler Adam Pye charges in during last weekend's victory away to Goring By Sea. Picture by Derek Martin Photography

It might only have been the first weekend of the league season, but Hastings Priory Cricket Club has sent out an early statement of intent in its quest for promotion.

Having been relegated last summer, Priory began their 1st Central Sussex Cricket League Division Two campaign with a resounding 116-run win away to Goring By Sea last weekend.

That followed a Royal London Club Championship victory at home to Linden Park the previous Sunday and a number of players have made significant contributions in both matches.

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Priory coach Ian Gillespie said: “One of the things you suffer when you get relegated is a loss of confidence.

“But we’ve started the season by winning two competitive games, which is good. All the batters have got a score in two competitive games and all the bowlers have bowled good spells.

“It’s a long haul, there’s a lot of games to go, there’s some good players (on opposing teams), but I think that was really positive.

“We don’t know what we’re going to come up against this season. There’s bound to be some good sides, and sides that are up and down.

“I think the important thing is we focus on our game, we play good cricket and someone will have to play very well to beat us.

“The disappointing thing would be if we don’t do ourselves justice and start making mistakes through a lack of confidence, like we did at the end of last season.

“We know we’ve got to make sure we do the right things. Put the ball in the right areas when we’re bowling, and batsmen get themselves in and play each ball on its merit. If we do that, we’re going to play good cricket.”

Priory will entertain Billingshurst in their opening home league game of the season today (Saturday). Play will get underway from 12.30pm at Horntye Park.

Billingshurst also got off to a winning start last weekend, easing to a seven-wicket victory at home to Lindfield.

But Priory are usually very strong on their own ground and barely put a foot wrong at Horntye Park the last time they were in Division Two four years ago.

“I think we feel we’ve got a well-balanced side and at this level we should be very competitive,” added Gillespie.

“It’s important we keep that going and treat every team with respect, but make sure we play good cricket and then we’ll be okay. If we take things for chance and try to do too much too soon, then we’ll fall away a little bit.

“But you never quite know in cricket because if a couple of players play really well, they can turn a game.”

Priory are likely to field the same side as last weekend. Josh Beeslee is still out with a shoulder injury, while James Pooley is likely to return following illness in the second team.

Priory are due to visit reigning Premier Division champions Roffey, meanwhile, in round two of the Royal London Club Championship tomorrow.