We’ve got a lot of work to do, admits Hastings coach

Hastings Priory Cricket Club coach Ian Gillespie admits the first team has a lot of work to do if it’s to get out of trouble.

Priory have fallen to the foot of the Sussex Cricket League Premier Division table after failing to pick up a point from their last two matches, both of which have been 10-wicket defeats.

Jake Woolley batting for Hastings Priory against East Grinstead last weekend. Picture by Simon Newstead

Jake Woolley batting for Hastings Priory against East Grinstead last weekend. Picture by Simon Newstead

Gillespie said: “It puts us in a very critical position now because we’ve fallen behind a lot of teams. There’s a lot of work now to be done to get out of it. Those teams who are 60 points ahead, that’s realistically three or four games to catch them up.”

Although only seven points adrift of a Cuckfield side which occupies the final safe spot of third-from-bottom, Priory are now 49 behind sixth-placed Eastbourne with two games to go until the midway stage of the season.

“It’s critical now we get some points on the board,” continued Gillespie. “There’s no shortage of effort and commitment, and we practised very hard in the week batting, bowling and fielding.

“If you take Joe Billings’ 140 against Horsham out of it, we’ve not got to 150 batting first, which is a major concern, because you’re not going to win games if you can’t put a total on the board.

“You can’t criticise our bowling attack at all; we’ve got to get enough runs on the board to give them a sporting chance.

“We’re struggling for confidence with the bat. If you look at the averages, we’re way, way down and the confidence to play a long innings isn’t there. We’re finding a lot of ways to get out, as you do in those situations, even though we’re trying hard not to.”

Having faced the division’s top two teams in their last two matches, another tough assignment awaits Priory today (Saturday) when they will travel to fourth-placed Preston Nomads.

Gillespie says it’s very important that Priory at least produce a competitive performance and pick up a healthy haul of points.

“Everyone’s got to try and stand up and be counted, and do their bit,” he added. “We’ve got to keep working hard, do the right things and get ourselves in as good a position as we can.

“The only way we’re going to overcome our confidence problem is to spend some time at the crease. We’ve got to keep doing the right things and hopefully it will come eventually.”

Priory’s three league games immediately after this weekend are against the three teams immediately above them in the table and Gillespie says those fixtures are already looking ‘absolutely crucial to the season’.

“It’s going to be difficult for us,” he said. “We just hope we can get our overseas player (Alastair Maasch) fit, and Elliot Hooper and Ryan Hoadley back. They’re quality players which will add to us and Elliot will be a massive addition.”

Priory are likely to field a very similar team today to last weekend’s side. For a report on the East Grinstead game, click here.

Sussex Premier League standings (all played 7 matches): 1 Roffey 190pts, 2 East Grinstead 163, 3 Brighton & Hove 146, 4 Preston Nomads 135, 5 Horsham 125, 6 Eastbourne 118, 7 Middleton 92, 8 Cuckfield 76, 9 Ifield 76, 10 HASTINGS PRIORY 69.

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