Harry Finch learnt the hard way about getting bat on ball.

The Sussex run-maker used to bat in the back garden as a boy, defending against a hockey ball without the luxury of wearing pads to protect his legs.

His dad Jason, a well known club cricketer at Hastings and St Leonards Priory, tended to be the man who sent the ball down.

Now Finch junior hopes to take those lessons into the middle at Canterbury today to follow a couple of very different but equally pleasing innings for his county in the Specsavers County Championship.

Finch ground out 48 in the gloom against Gloucestershire and followed it with a maiden Championship ton in the thrilling win over Middlesex.

Although he is well supported by his family, Dad wasn’t there to see him reach three figures last Saturday.

True to form, he was playing cricket himself, scoring 66 for Mayfield.

But the former Sussex second teamer has played a huge part in his son’s career.

Harry told The Argus: “My dad has been a massive influence. We used to play cricket in the garden from when I was six.

“It was a hockey ball and no pads. We used to cut a strip in the garden.

“We used a hockey ball because he didn’t want to ruin a cricket ball.

“We didn’t wear pads. I’m not sure why but at least you made sure you used your bat.

“A hockey ball is still hard. If it hits you in the shin it’s agony but you just got on with it.”

Finch senior is a keen sportsman and a real competitor.

Harry added: “He is passionate about my cricket and everything I do for Sussex.

“I sometimes think he must think it’s him batting!

“He played the game at a decent level and is a really good coach.

“I quite often talk to him. He knows my game as well as anyone.

“He says he can tell whether I’m going to score runs just from the way I walk out to the middle.

“I’m not sure about that. I think it’s probably more of a guess!”

Harry’s younger brother Eddie, who also plays for Mayfield these days, joined in those games in the garden.

The Argus:

Jason Finch at the crease

Then they would keep an eye on Sussex and local hero Mike Yardy, Harry admitting he was somewhat in awe of the fellow Hastings boy who went on to play for England.

These days, the men are colleagues with Yardy having moved on to a new role as batting coach.

All that has really done is make things official because Finch was already asking for tips from his mentor before Yardy, pictured, was given that job title.

He said: “We’ve been working together for a few years, even before he was coach.

“He is somebody you can go to and talk about cricket – or not about cricket.

“He thinks on a very individual basis.

“When you look at the career he had with an interesting technique, he made it work for him “He wants you to play in your own way.

“I wind him up about football. He supports West Ham and I’m a Tottenham fan.

“So I wind him up about that but that’s all part of it.

“Not everyone wants to talk about cricket all the time.

“He was a childhood hero of mine.

“I grew up watching him play and being in awe of him, I suppose.”

Finch spoke of the special moment when he reached three figures and admitted he would have loved Dad to have been there to enjoy it.

He 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 has 211 runs at 30.14 in seven innings to date.

The fact that total includes scores of 103 and 48 underlines he has not always found it easy going this season.

But coach Jason Gillespie just wants to see progress.

Gillespie said: “That 48 was a hard-fought 48 and then he came out and got a very good hundred against a very good bowling attack.

“Hopef

ully that is a sign of things to come.

“He will learn. He missed out in the second innings but he will learn from that and that is all I ask.

“We just want to try and get better each and every game.

“It’s great to see a young Sussex player achieve a milestone and it was a hundred in a win against a very good side. Exciting times.”