Martin Read – Sports Reporter
The England & Wales Cricket Board has released the county one day fixtures, and, when, publishing Sussex’s schedule, the county say: “Venues for Sussex’s home games in the Royal London Cup are currently all listed as The 1st Central County Ground. It is hoped to be able to play matches at Horsham (and Eastbourne), but this will depend on the COVID-19 situation”.
Sussex’s long history of playing at Horsham, stretching back over a hundred years, came to an abrupt end after their visit in 2015, because of difficulties in obtaining the necessary sponsorship. However, Horsham Cricket Club was delighted to announce that the county would be returning with a Royal London Cup 50 overs a side game against Gloucestershire last August, only for that fixture to fall victim to the Covid pandemic.
Hove was originally designated as a hub venue for the Women’s inaugural Hundred competition, which would have given Sussex outgrounds the possibility of further county fixtures, but that arrangement has been discontinued. Horsham, though, remain hopeful of staging popular Sussex cricket again, with the club’s Chris Shambrook, still recovering from Brighton’s shock win against Liverpool, telling us: “How good was that? I was at the 1982 game when they last did it! Great for Brighton, and we’re looking forward to seeing some cricket, too, and I’ve spoken to Sussex CEO Rob Andrew. We’re all very keen to have the county back here, but until the lockdown restrictions are eased, unfortunately it’s not possible to add to the county’s statement.”
Horsham Cricket Club Chairman Richard Marshall added: “We’ve only just had the county one day fixtures, and we’re now waiting for the government’s announcement later this month on how sport might be able to proceed. However, we are hoping for a full season of Sussex League matches at the club – we’re expecting those fixtures shortly – and I’m very pleased to say that the MCC are sending men’s and women’s sides to play us on Tuesday August 10th. And, we’re enthusiastic at the prospect of our usual comprehensive programme of representative matches.”
Meanwhile, with the full fixture list on the county website, Sussex are due to begin their 4 day County Championship campaign against Lancashire at Hove on Thursday April 8th, with the Vitality Blast T20 tournament starting with a trip to play Gloucestershire at Bristol on Friday June 11th. Sussex’s Royal London competition gets under way when Durham come to Hove on Thursday July 15th. 50 over one day finals had been held at Lord’s – on Saturdays – since the early 1960s, but this year the Royal London big day will be at Trent Bridge on Thursday August 19th, while the Vitality Blast T20 finals day returns to Edgbaston, on Saturday September 18th