JUBILANT manager Graham Kemp admitted piloting Christchurch to third place in the Wessex Premier had felt like winning the league.

Sam Griffin’s double saw Priory complete their best campaign since the league was formed 26 years ago with a 2-0 win over Alresford at Hurn Bridge on Wednesday.

Finishing a point above Moneyfields and Hamble also earned the club £850 in prize money.

Kemp told the Daily Echo: “To get 85 points and to finish third is a magnificent achievement for everybody associated with the club. It is just reward for the effort the players have put in this season.

“Although only a point separated third from fifth, I told the players before the game that I didn’t think finishing fifth would be acceptable. With this group of players, it would have been disappointing and again they delivered.”

Kemp added: “When I took over, Christchurch had had three managers in a year. We have finished seventh, fifth, sixth and now third in our past four seasons. We have progressed this season and have established ourselves as one of the top teams in the division. The hard part now will be trying to improve again.”

Christchurch will be hoping to put the finishing touches to a memorable season when they face Brockenhurst in the final of the Wessex League Cup at Bemerton’s Western Way headquarters on Monday (3pm).

Kemp, who left Brockenhurst to take over at Priory in 2007, added: “The cup is for the players. I want them to enjoy and express themselves. To win the trophy would be great for the lads and would be the icing on the cake.”

Priory: (from) Collins, Thompson, Legg, Costello, Crutchley, Burt, Burden, Smith, Osborne, Fairbrother, Griffin, Cook, Dand, Cornick, Kittle, Brian, Roberts, Prodomo.

New Milton Town have turned to Darren Curtis to succeed Glenn Burnett as manager at Fawcett’s Field.

Defender Curtis, who was signed by Burnett in October, is expected to fulfil a player-manager’s role at the club.

Burnett quit the post on Monday following talks with the club’s committee over the budget for next season.

Curtis, who was on Fulham’s books as a schoolboy, played previously for Salisbury, Wimborne and the now-defunct Lymington & New Milton.