Vital opportunity in Priory title bid

Jason Finch
Jason Finch

Today (Saturday) could be a productive day for Hastings Priory in the race for the Sussex Cricket League title.

Second-placed Priory travel to bottom-of-the-table and winless Pulborough, while leaders Preston Nomads entertain third-placed Horsham as the Premier Division season reaches the halfway mark.

But first XI captain Jason Finch, as opposed to club captain Adam Maharaj-Newman, isn’t getting carried away with talk of winning the league and referred to his initial top three target.

He said: “Deep down you always think you might have a chance (of the title), but I said at the beginning of the season I thought we would be pushing top three all year.

“Saturday is halfway through the season and we’re up there. We’re enjoying it and certainly on our day we’re as good as anybody in the league. We’ve got some really good youngsters and we’re not afraid to get them in this year.”

Unbeaten Priory led the standings up until last weekend when their game at Three Bridges was abandoned due to rain and Preston Nomads went two points ahead of them courtesy of a six-wicket win away to Eastbourne.

“I’m delighted with the way it’s going,” continued Finch. “There’s a big buzz round the club actually. We’ve got the nucleus of a very good young side and hopefully we’ll have a strong finish to the second part of the season.”

Today will be Priory’s first meeting with a Pulborough side promoted from Division Two last summer. As they were at Three Bridges, Priory are again likely to be below strength.

“We’ll pack it with a few youngsters probably and see how we go,” added Finch. “We’ll look to pick a fairly balanced side and try to go hard at them early doors. We’ve got enough match-winners to beat them if we play well.

“We’ve just got to get through the next week. Then we’ve got players back and we can push hard for the second half of the season. If we get a bit of luck with tosses and the weather, we might do alright.”

Priory will be back in action on Sunday with a Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup tie at home to Crowhurst Park. Play will get underway from 2.30pm at Horntye Park Sports Complex.