Kent Gains, Priory Losses

10th July: Lost by 43 runs
East Grinstead 202-5;
Hastings & St Leonards Priory 159-6

17th July: Lost by 7 wickets
Hastings & St Leonards Priory 263-5;
Middleton 264-3

Hastings & St Leonards Priory batsman Harry Finch enjoyed one of the sweetest innings of his life last week. Picked to play for Kent in a County Championship match against Sussex, the team which had rejected him this summer after several seasons under contract with them, he knocked up a commanding century to earn his new county a draw. 

He followed this with a top score of 47 in a winning T20 tie for Kent Spitfires against Sussex Sharks last Friday. Lining up alongside him in the Kent team was another ex-Priory and former Sussex recruit, Elliott Hooper. It was Hooper’s first game at this level, yet he emerged as player of the match after taking three wickets for 24 in his four overs of left-arm spin.

Middleton and Hastings teams exchange courtesies after Horntye encounter

There’s every reason to think that both Finch and Hooper will carry on playing in Kent’s colours for the rest of the season. Which, in the case of Finch, is particularly bad news for the Hastings club side, which subsided to two further damaging defeats in Sussex Premier League matches over the past two Saturdays. 

The first, with Finch in the side, was contested on a T20 format on a rain-soaked pitch at East Grinstead. The home team compiled 202 at over ten runs an over, which Priory never seemed likely to emulate, and didn’t. The second, without him, took place by contrast under a cloudless sky at Horntye where Priory entertained visitors Middleton. Captain Tom Gillespie, who had shown a welcome return to batting form with a score of 40 at East Grinstead, hit another 57. Sri Lankan all-rounder Dilshan De Zoysa joined him in a partnership of 108 for the fourth wicket, shared another century stand with Jake Woolley, and cruised to his maiden hundred in an impressive innings total of 263 for five. But Priory’s weakened attack, already without Finch or John Morgan (absent in Covid isolation), was shredded after Jed O’Brien, who had opened the bowling unchanged for 11 overs, pulled out of a twelfth and left the field of play unilaterally. De Zoysa bowled tidily, but Middleton cruised to a seven-wicket victory with three overs to spare. 

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.