A brilliant hundred from Jason Finch led Hastings Priory Cricket Club’s first team to an emphatic Sussex Premier League victory.
Captain-for-the-day Finch blasted 121 at the top of the order to set Priory on the way to a 130-run success away to newly-promoted Ansty on Saturday.
It was the perfect response to a heavy opening day defeat at home to East Grinstead the previous weekend, and injuries to regular skipper Tom Gillespie and fast bowler Adam Barton.
Ansty chose to field on winning the toss, but Priory proceeded to amass 273-5 from their 45 overs - a total dominated by Finch, with other players chipping in around him and contributing to some useful partnerships.
James Pooley made 14 (with two fours and a six) before departing with the score 25 and Leo Cammish then contributed 16 to a second wicket partnership of 48 with Finch.
Elliot Hooper (27) and Finch put on 49 for the third wicket, and Finch dominated a fourth wicket stand of 70 with Jake Woolley (20) which put Priory in a strong position.
Finch, back at Priory this season after six years away, was eventually fifth man out with the score 244 having hit 11 fours and four sixes. It was his first century for the club since hitting 118 against Bexhill in July 2010, a match in which he also took five wickets.
John Morgan (37 not out) and Jed O’Brien (16 not out) continued the momentum at the end of the innings as Priory left their opponents with a huge task to chase down the runs.
And it duly proved far too much as Ansty were all out for 143 in 36.2 overs, with spin twins Hooper and O’Brien picking up seven wickets between them.
Morgan (6-1-22-1) landed the first blow by having Jonathan Parker caught behind by Cammish for two before Hooper (10-1-36-4) dismissed Leo Anderson (19) and Jonathan Young (0) with the score 35.
Things got even better for Priory as they took the next four wickets for just 16 runs to leave Ansty 70-7. O’Brien (9.2-2-23-3) opened his account by dismissing Jethro Menzies (12) and effected, while Hooper took the fifth and seventh wickets to take his tally to four.
Ansty rallied with an eighth wicket partnership of 56, which finally ended when O’Brien had home captain Harry Towler caught by Finch for 39. Jack Coleman (8-0-30-1) got in on the act by bowling Jack Palser for 27 before O’Brien trapped Ben Towler (9) in front to finish things off.
Sussex Premier League standings (all played 2 matches): 1 East Grinstead 58pts, 2 Roffey 58, 3 Middleton 41, 4 Brighton & Hove 39, 5 Preston Nomads 39, 6 Horsham 38, 7 Cuckfield 36, 8 HASTINGS PRIORY 36, 9 BEXHILL 17, 10 Ansty 16.
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