Priory’s title challenge looks over

Toby Finzel hit 65 in Priory's draw with Chichester
Toby Finzel hit 65 in Priory's draw with Chichester

HASTINGS Priory’s hopes of retaining the Sussex Cricket Premier League are all but over after they contested a draw away to Chichester Priory Park.

While Hastings were being held, Horsham and Preston Nomads both won to increase their advantage at the top of the table going into the final two weekends of the season. Nomads also have still to play their game in hand against the Sussex Development XI.

Put into bat at Priory Park, Hastings were given a great start by Toby Finzel (65) and Adam Maharaj-Newman (66) who shared an opening stand of 134.

The good work was continued by Harry Finch (68 not out) and Tom Harvey (44) before skipper George Campbell weighed in with a quick-fire 25 off only 14 balls as Hastings finished on 290-5 off 56 overs. Aussie leg-spinner Adam Zampa took 5-110.

In reply, Chichester held on at 227-7 thanks to Richard Browning (56), Zampa (36), Daniel Joseph (29 not out) and Chris Kirkham (27).

The wickets were shared between Mick Glazier (2-64), Elliot Hooper (1-32), Campbell (1-34) and Josh Poysden (1-36).

Horsham, who head the table by 17 points, won by three wickets away to relegation-threatened Bexhill, while Nomads enjoyed a comfortable win at Brighton & Hove by 128 runs. Priory are now 53 points adrift of the top spot with only 60 up for grabs from their final two fixtures.

Premier League standings (played 17 unless stated): Horsham 362pts, Preston Nomads (16) 345, Hastings Priory 309, East Grinstead 266, Roffey 263, Worthing 243, Brighton & Hove 238, Chichester Priory Park 237, Bexhill 217, Eastbourne 214.

For a full match report see Friday’s Observer Sport.