Skipper backing Priory title bid

Jason Finch believes Hastings Priory have as good a chance as anyone of winning the Sussex Cricket League title.

Priory go into a huge game away to fellow Premier Division high-flyers Preston Nomads today (Saturday) on the crest of a wave following last weekend’s 155-run thrashing of Brighton & Hove.

Finch, Priory’s captain, said: “I’m as positive as I’ve been. We’ve worked hard to get where we are and we’ve got as good a chance as any, but I still say that there’s four sides in it, including (East) Grinstead, because they’ve still got to play Horsham and Nomads.”

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Priory are four points clear of second-placed Horsham with a game in hand and 24 ahead of third-placed Nomads, who lost ground last weekend with defeat to a Sussex Development XI side containing Priory starlet Harry Finch. Fourth-placed Grinstead are 31 points off the pace having played a match more than Priory.

“Out of all the sides we’ve probably got as good a run-in as any, especially playing at home (for four of their last five matches),” continued Jason Finch. “I wouldn’t want to go to Horsham (on the final day) needing to win to win the league because they’re a good unit. Hopefully it can be decided before then.”

The availability of Kirk Wernars will depend on whether the South African is included in Sussex’s squad to face The Netherlands in a Clydesdale Bank 40 fixture in Amstelveen tomorrow.

Matt Machan, the third most prolific batsman in the Sussex League with 596 runs at an average of 85.14, hurt his thumb in county fielding practice at the beginning of the week, but should be alright.

If the two county professionals are available, it could well be one of Finch’s toughest selections in years because George Campbell and Andy Cornford are also part of a provisional 13-man squad.

Continuing a massive weekend, Priory will be back at Nomads on Sunday for finals’ day in the Gray-Nicolls Sussex T20 Cup. Priory will face Horsham on the North Ground at 12.15pm for the right to play Billingshurst or Nomads, who meet on the South Ground at the same time, in the decider at 4pm.