Horsham have two excellent fixtures for the annual festival at Cricket Field Road.
In the four day LV= County Championship game, starting on Sunday, Sussex entertain Nottinghamshire and on the following Sunday in the 50 over Royal London Cup, Lancashire visit.
Festival organiser Barry Peay told the District Post: “We’re absolutely delighted to have two such outstanding fixtures. Last year’s Festival was a great success, the excellent wickets rightly earning our groundsman Jim Askew a much coveted ECB award”. Horsham President Hugh Thomas says: “2014 was one of the very best festivals with consistently high attendances, very pleasingly returning to the profit level of five years ago.” Like Sussex, Nottinghamshire are in the lower half of the Division One table, but both having ample opportunity to improve their position. Sussex have a good record at Horsham, yet at last year’s Festival Notts – whose strong line up includes England’s Hales, Lumb, Patel, James Taylor and arguably the best wicket keeper in the country, Chris Read – beat them in the one-day cup. Former England Coach Peter Moores, is now a consultant with Notts. Under him Sussex won the second division of the Championship in 2001, and the main competition itself in 2003, the first Championship title in their 164-year history.
Last year Lancashire were relegated to Division 2 in the championship but currently head that table and are a strong one day side, getting through to the 2014 T20 final. They last appeared at Horsham in 1994, Sussex winning the four day game although Michael Atherton’s unbeaten century saw Lancs win the one-dayer.
Sussex’s T20 match at Hove two days before the start of the Horsham Festival creates a logistical challenge – a rapid late transfer of boundary boards, chairs and other equipment to Cricketfield Road. And, having county cricket at the club on two consecutive weekends entails the re-arrangement of Horsham team fixtures elsewhere. Strolling round the ground at the Festival with everything running smoothly, spectators could be forgiven for thinking that little organisation is necessary, but much effort is involved. Is it all worth it? Horsham’s Chris Wassell confirms: “Definitely! It raises our profile and ensures that the club continues to maintain our excellent facilities.” Barry Peay adds: “We do it because we love it – it’s the highest level of professional sport locally and we like welcoming people to the best ground in England! Its hard work – having a gallows sense of humour is a great advantage!”
Sussex Chairman Jim May sums up: “We have exciting fixtures and Sussex are one of few counties hosting out-ground cricket. It remains vital that local residents and businesses support the Festival to ensure that we are able to continue playing at Horsham.” At 10am on Tuesday there will be a member’s forum – a Q & A session with Sussex Chairman Jim May, CEO Zac Toumazi and Club Coach Mark Robinson.