Hastings & St Leonards Priory suffered two more Sussex Premier League defeats over the past two Saturdays, their tenth and eleventh of the season. Now more than 50 points adrift of Cuckfield, the next team above them, they must resign themselves to relegation barring a miraculous turnaround in the four matches still to play.

On 28 July they fought hard in a home match at Horntye against second-placed Eastbourne, bowling out
their near neighbours for 261. Adam Barton, running in at pace, claimed a five-wicket haul. That left them 58 overs to get the runs, and they seemed in contentionat 147 for 4, with form batsman Jake Woolley well set and
19 overs remaining. The middle and late order couldn’t cope with Eastbourne’s tight attack, however, and the innings crumbled to 197 all out, the final wicket falling in the penultimate over.

Last Saturday Priory batted first at Horsham and got off to a solid start to reach 54 for 1. Upon the dismissal of Joe Billings, the one shining star of Priory’s season, the rest of the batting order collapsed, only Jed O’Brien with an unbeaten 39 showing any effective resistance in an indefensible total of 141. Horsham
replied with an opening partnership of 89 runs, and they eventually coasted home by six wickets.

Priory’s game tomorrow (Saturday 11th) is at home to league leaders Roffey. The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong but, as Guys and Dolls writer Damon Runyon quipped, that’s the way to bet.

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