Excellent first day at cricket festival

Day 1 – Somerset             76 All Out
Sussex 298-9

The eagerly awaited Sussex Cricket Festival is back in town – and what a tremendous first day it was!

Sussex fans arrived in droves, revelling in the beautiful tree-lined setting and enjoying an enthralling day of cricket.

Following overnight rain and with heavy cloud cover MarcusTrescothick made the surprising decision to bat first, despite Somerset’s inconsistency at the crease this season. As play commenced former Sussex captain John Barclay said: “Sussex have an excellent bowler for these conditions – Steve Magoffin.” How right he was – Magoffin treated the Sussex faithful to a superb exhibition of fast medium bowling and was soon among the wickets.

At 44-3 there was still plenty of batting to come, but when Trescothick departed, quickly followed by Trego and Thomas without a run added, Sussex were in complete control.

Bowling unchanged for 11 miserly overs from the town end, 33-year-old Queenslander Magoffin took a career best 8-20, including a devastating five wickets in 13 balls, as Somerset were demolished for 76 before lunch. Trescothick agreed that “It was fantastic bowling and it nibbled about a bit.”

But a distraught Somerset member was unforgiving, announcing: “We won the toss and elected to collapse.”

With one blemish, denying Magoffin a ninth scalp, the Sussex catching was immaculate, especially a stinger pouched by the taker of the other two wickets, Jordan, in the slips.

Only three Somerset batsmen made double figures, Magoffin’s haul being the best return for a Sussex bowler since Mushtaq Ahmed’s 9-48 match winning figures when Sussex won the championship in 2006 – and the best at Horsham for 65 years, Northamptonshire’s Vince Broderick bagging 9-35 in 1948.

Sussex, Surrey and England stalwart Geoff Arnold watched proceedings with incredulity, saying: “This was a great piece of bowling, but I couldn’t believe it when Somerset batted first.” At lunchtime Chris Nash, captaining on his home ground, smiled, saying diplomatically: “We’d have probably put them in had I won the toss” (as happened in every other county game).

After seeing the Somerset score on the internet someone rang the club office to check whether it was a one day game but Sussex soon confirmed that the pitch held no terrors as the visitors’ impressive attack was unable to make early inroads. Nash (46) and Luke Wells (30) put on 83 for the first wicket with almost every subsequent Sussex batsman making solid contributions, notably Rory Hamilton-Brown playing himself into form, his enterprising 77 including 11 fours and 2 sixes.

Magoffin returned to haunt Somerset with 21 not out, sharing an unbroken last wicket partnership of 27 with Panesar, the highlight being Monty smashing the fiery Kirby back over his head for a loudly applauded boundary, Sussex finishing with a 222 run lead.

It may be a well trodden path for Horsham Cricket Club to stage another highly entertaining day of festival cricket, but this is only achieved through professional planning and much hard work under the direction of Barry Peay, groundsman Lawrence Gosling and a huge team of enthusiastic

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