by Martin Read
It may be wet and dark in Sussex’s Tier 4 lockdown, but the evenings are beginning to draw out, and there are hopeful signs that the rates of Covid infections around the county are starting to improve. Live local sport is currently virtually non-existent, so the uplifting thought of competitive, keenly contested cricket in nice spring and summer weather is just the tonic needed by sports fans. And, after the huge success of last season’s inaugural Sussex Slam T20 competition, plans are afoot to make this year’s tournament even bigger and better, for both men’s and women’s sides.
Horsham Cricket Club’s ever optimistic Chris “Shaka” Shambrook explains: “Spring is here and it’s time to think cricket! Hopefully we will be able to play come April/May, even if it is under the same restrictions as at the back end of last season. Quite a lot of cricket was eventually played then, including the incredibly successful Sussex T20 Slam which culminated in two finals days at Horsham attended by big crowds. Slinfold Rams were not only winners of the resurrected Mirfield Cup (North section) but went on to win the whole countywide Sussex Slam competition, too. And, in the women’s competition, Horsham Lionesses reached their final, which was eventually won by Eastbourne Renegades.
“For the coming season, my proposal is that the Northern Area of the Slam Plate is now played for the Gullick Cup, updating and improving our tournament whilst inviting all existing and new teams to enter – or have a go at the Mirfield Cup – if playing strength dictates. I will be assisting with the Slam competition and therefore need to understand the wishes of our teams, with access to a home ground and a seeded group draw helping with travelling, and taking into consideration playing levels.”
Shaka continued: “In 2020, playing the North Sussex Section of the Slam draw for the Mirfield Cup not only kept our 60 odd year tradition alive, it also encouraged nearly 20 teams to participate. And, this year the slam is broadening its horizons and has added a Plate Competition, limiting any regular cricketers from Div 7 and above from playing, to encourage non regular players and those returning to the game.”
The Sussex Slam is specifically designed to be fast-paced, regionalised and flexible, to get more cricket played by more people, with rules designed to ensure maximum participation by all players. Details of how to enter, both as a player and as a team, can be found on the Slam website – www.sussexslam.co.uk, with any enquiries directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, Shaka Shambrook sums up by saying: “The Finals of both North Area competitions will be played on the same day at Horsham Cricket Club (provisionally scheduled for Sunday August 1st), with the winners presented with the unique opportunity to play at the Hove county HQ in the Grand Sussex Final. In modernising the Slam, there will be the chance to invent your own team logo, play in coloured kit with pink balls and sample all the thrills and spills of 20/20. It’s a case of the more the merrier, so come on – let’s have plenty of entries!”