Just one more thing would have made last Saturday the perfect day for Sussex batsman Harry Finch.
While the 23-year-old was scoring his maiden Championship hundred against Middlesex in front of his mum, nan and dog, a few miles away in Mayfield dad Jason – a prolific run scorer in Sussex league cricket over the years – was hitting 66 in a victory over Bexhill.
Harry said: “It would have been great had he been there to see me get the hundred but I did have to wind him up that he couldn’t follow me and get one himself! But it was amazing to have my family there. It was nice to pay them back because they made a lot of sacrifices when I was younger ferrying me around when I was in the Academy.
“When I got to my hundred a lot of emotion came out in the celebration. It meant a lot because I have put a lot of hard work in over the last couple of years and sometimes you have to fail to learn more. So, it was a really pleasing moment.”
Finch is one of the Sussex batsmen benefitting from the more relaxed environment fostered by new Head Coach Jason Gillespie and the work he has done with another son of Hastings, batting coach Mike Yardy.
Technically there aren’t many similarities. Finch has a more classical stance than Yardy, who had an unorthodox method of moving into the ball from outside leg stump. But temperamentally they are similar. Finch is perhaps not the most stylish of players but he is fiercely determined to make the most of what he’s got.
The similarities don’t end there. Yardy was a late developer and at 23 – the same age as his protégée – and had played 35 games when he made his maiden Championship hundred, compared to Finch’s 29 matches to reach the milestone. Yardy went on to score 22 more in a career in which he lodged over 10,000 first-class runs.
Phil Salt and Michael Burgess, who have both made big strides forward this season, also credit Yardy for helping them kick on.
“I had a hardworking winter with Yards and he’s a top bloke and a fantastic coach – I can’t speak highly enough of him,” said Finch. “I feel he’s helped move my game on massively. He’s a big influence on our batting group. He’s got lots of experience of course and can spot little things which make a difference.
“He also believes in us. The confidence we’ve got from him is showing not just in me but other players as well. They trust us but you still have to go out and get a score and hopefully this is the start for me.”
Gillespie was certainly impressed and will be hoping for more on Friday when Sussex meet Kent at Canterbury in a battle of two of the early pacesetters in Division Two.
“It was a fantastic knock,” said Gillespie. “Not only did he score his hundred in tricky conditions but against a Middlesex attack that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Division One. We were all delighted for Finchy because we know how hard he’s worked for it.”