Horsham Cricket Festival review

LV= County Championship Division 1

Sussex 300

Somerset 76 & 108
Sussex won by an innings and 116 runs

Yorkshire Bank 40

Sussex 222-9

Kent 202 All out Sussex won by 20 runs

Sussex’s festival cricket at Horsham is invariably engrossing and this year the county side enjoyed another highly successful visit, rocketing to the top of the LV= County Championship table by annihilating Somerset. Then they beat Kent in the Yorkshire Bank 40 Sunday game to improve their chances of progressing in that competition. Chris Nash, captaining Sussex at the club where he first played as a seven year old, told The District Post: “It was an absolutely brilliant experience – I really enjoyed it. In the Somerset match we put in a complete performance from ball one and in the Sunday game we defended our total so well.”

Zac Toumazi, Chief Executive of Sussex County Cricket Club lavished fulsome praise on Horsham Cricket Club: “We got the right results and everybody’s been excellent. This is my first festival here and the real friendliness has been fantastic – this is a proper club!”

Following Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick’s baffling decision to bat first in the championship match, Sussex romped home at 2.35 on the second day, one of the quickest finishes in the history of the county championship, winning by an innings and 116 runs, bagging 22 invaluable points. Somerset capitualated for a miserable 76, Steve Magoffin taking a superb 8-20, followed by Sussex’s 300, dispelling any qualms about the wicket. On the second day Magoffin, again bowling with exceptional accuracy, gave another master class in seam and swing bowling – wreaking more havoc, with four further wickets, taking his match tally to an outstanding 12-31, raising the possibility of a call up for the Aussies in the forthcoming Ashes series. He might have had even more had he not been taken off to rest a sore knee, and modestly said: “I’m quite shocked to be honest,” while Trescothick confessed: “We are embarrassed and can’t really understand why we’re playing like this.”

On Sunday in the one day game Kent inserted Sussex, Nash and Luke Wright creating a platform with a 63 run opening partnership. Then Hamilton-Brown and Yardy contributed forties before, from the promise of 143-3, wickets dribbled away, the score subsiding to 188-9 until a match winning unbroken 34 run last wicket partnership between Jordan and Liddle enabled Sussex to post a challenging 222-9. Kent’s top order batsmen established themselves, notably Darren Stevens with the only fifty of the match, including 4 sixes, but, when Jordan accounted for him the momentum ebbed away, five of the last six batsmen only mustering ten runs between them. Sussex tightened their grip as the run rate mounted, enabling them to win by 20 runs with four balls remaining.

Enthralling cricket was played at the festival, an estimated 4,500 people attending on the Sunday, yet, county outgrounds are an endangered species. Horsham Cricket Club again proved that they are more than capable of staging top flight entertainment, which is well worth preserving. Sussex Head Coach Mark Robinson summed up the festival: “We love it here – it’s a great place to play and Horsham’s a lovely town.”

“Sarah Beer, mother of Horsham’s Sussex legspinner Will, organises the ever popular Sunday tea tent at the festival and asked Horsham members to provide a cake. The response was terrific – some families brought along two or three and this year the fantastic selection raised £1738.26 for club funds, smashing the previous record of just over £1200.00.

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