Prior using past to help Hawks avoid play-offs

Jason Prior in action for the Hawks. Picture: Mick Young
Jason Prior in action for the Hawks. Picture: Mick Young
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HAWKS striker Jason Prior wants to avoid suffering Ryman League premier division play-off heartache for a second successive season by helping his side lift the title.

Prior, along with fellow striker Alfie Rutherford, were members of the Bognor team that lost in the play-offs last season.

Ideally, we want to finish top of the table and avoid the play-offs

Jason Prior

The Rocks crashed out to Dulwich Hamlet 12 months ago, despite finishing above the south London side in the league.

During the close-season, the pair switched to the Hawks and, ironically, find themselves up against their old club in a two-team shoot-out for the crown.

On Easter Monday, the Hawks host the Rocks at Westleigh Park in what could turn out to be a title decider.

Prior fired home a penalty in the Hawks’ 2-1 win against Dulwich on Saturday, which closed the gap between themselves and the Rocks to one point at the top.

And the forward is adamant the Hawks can finish the job and be crowned champions.

Prior said: ‘Ideally, we want to finish top of the table and avoid the play-offs.

‘Play-offs are funny things.

‘They add a bit of interest at the end of the season.

‘But you can finish second, twenty points ahead of the team in fifth and lose to them.

‘That is what happened at Bognor last season.

‘If we do have to go into the play-offs, then we just have to keep doing what we have been doing.

‘We have a great opportunity to win it, though, and have hit a good patch of form.’

The Hawks have four games left, including the titanic top of the table clash on Easter Monday.

It has the potential to be the game of the season in the Ryman League.

Beforehand, the Hawks host play-off chasers Tonbridge Angels and visit Canvey Island on Good Friday.

Prior knows promotion has a lot to do with the Hawks keeping their nerve.

And he reckons his team are back on the right track.

‘Beating Dulwich was a massive result for us particularly as Bognor lost,’ Prior added.

‘It gives a completely different complexion to the league table.

‘This win against a really decent team shows that we have got the bottle to come out on top in big games.

‘We were the better team throughout and I thought we were unlucky to go behind.

‘In the end we showed a lot of character to come away with a result that we thoroughly deserved.

‘We have not been as good as we have wanted to be against the other teams in the top six.

‘The performances had been there but we hadn’t been ruthless enough in the box.

‘We put that right on Saturday.’