Priory launch promotion bid

  • Hastings Priory target promotion on eve of new season
  • Club was relegated from Sussex Premier League for first time in 2014
  • Division Two campaign begins with visit from Lindfield tomorrow
  • John Morgan is the new captain this summer
  • National cup tie at home to Blackheath on Sunday
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Hastings Priory’s cricketers will begin their 2015 league campaign tomorrow (Saturday) with their sights firmly fixed on winning promotion.

Having been relegated from the Sussex Premier League for the first time ever last summer, Priory are determined to go straight back up from Division Two this year.

First team coach Ian Gillespie said: “That’s what we’re targeting. We’ve got to be playing some very purposeful, positive cricket to try and get out (of the division).

“Winning games, especially here at Horntye, is going to be tough so we’re not under-estimating the challenge, but we’re certainly up for it.

“Obviously we’ll start as one of the favourites I would suggest to go up, but certainly Three Bridges - who came down with us - will be a good side and there’s bound to be somebody who comes from nowhere with a decent side.”

Playing against Priory will be something of a ‘cup final’ for many clubs in a division which will be a bit of a trip into the unknown for John Morgan’s team.

Jed O'Brien at the crease en route to an unbeaten half-century for Hastings Priory against Eastbourne last weekend. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-150205-221154002)

Jed O'Brien at the crease en route to an unbeaten half-century for Hastings Priory against Eastbourne last weekend. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-150205-221154002)

“It’s going to be interesting isn’t it,” continued Gillespie. “There’s going to be a lot of new experiences for us and that will be a challenge. We’re going to go to a lot of new grounds that we won’t have played on.

“A couple of years ago we were struggling to put together a really good seam bowling attack, but now I think we’ve got a lot of young seamers with potential so if we do play on some greener wickets away from home, perhaps we’ve got the sort of attack that can exploit that.

“We’ve got a strong and balanced spin attack as well this year, led by Elliot Hooper, Jed O’Brien’s come on leaps and bounds, Sujith Perera played very nicely last season and Jack Coleman bowls something a little bit different.”

After two pre-season friendlies and a Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup first round tie, the league campaign will begin with a visit from Lindfield.

Tom Gillespie, Harry Finch and Adam Maharaj-Newman are all expected to be unavailable, but Morgan will return.

Priory will also be in action on Sunday when they host Blackheath in the ECB Club Championship. Priory reached the quarter-finals of the national knockout competition last year, but they are likely to be below strength for the second round tie. Both games will start at 1pm.