Hastings skipper praises 'exceptional' Hooper after Chichester win

Elliot Hooper has been on fine form with the bat and ball this season
Elliot Hooper has been on fine form with the bat and ball this season

Hastings’ captain Tom Gillespie praised ‘exceptional’ all rounder Elliot Hooper after the side edged out an 18-run victory against Chichester at Horntye Park.

Hooper hit 79 before taking 5-20 in a superb all-round performance, Gillespie said: “Elliot is an exceptional cricketer and we’re very happy to have him.

“He can change the game with all three disciplines and always plays positive cricket. He is a vital part of the team.”

Chichester won the toss and elected to field, and after the early dismissal of Joe Billings, Elliot took to the crease and hit an impressive 79 runs off 99 balls before being bowled out by Abhishek Raut.

In fact, Elliot’s score accounted for not far off half of the home side’s 182 runs from 51 overs, before Gillespie and his side took the decision to declare with three wickets still to spare.

Gillespie said: “I think in recent years our bowling attack has always been a strength.

“We defended 205 against Bognor on a flat wicket, so 182 on a difficult one I always expected our bowlers to give us every chance. I think the wicket was as hard as it’s ever been to bat on at Horntye.

“It was very wet and there was a lot of variable bounce.

“Elliot’s partnership with Greg [Devlin] at a tough period meant I felt we had to accept it was just a difficult wicket.

“The declaration was because I think we probably got around the par score based on the wicket.”

Star-man Elliot also shined with the ball in his hand. In ten overs he took five wickets at the expense of just 20 runs. But Chichester batsman Joe De La Fuente’s 47 almost carried the away side to within touching distance of Hastings.

Hooper however bowled Fuente as Hastings went on to see their opponents off for 164.

With just six games to go Hastings sit top of the First Central Sussex Cricket League Division 2. “If you’re top after 11 games you have to believe you can win it. I think we have match winners throughout the team,” said an optimistic Gillespie.