One of the many reasons I dislike the Hundred concept is its assumption that cricket is a metropolitan game. As far as back as Hambledon, the first ever cricket club, to matches on the village green and the gloriously picturesque ground at Arundel cricket is at its best in a rural setting. The Castle cricket ground at Arundel is surrounded by trees with just one gap providing a beautiful view over the Downs and river Arun. Before play began , I walked the ground chatting to painter Jack Russell who sets up a stall there and Jon Filby, Sussex CCC big wig and historian, who has a book stall.
Surprisingly Paul Collingwood, Durham’s evergreen captain, having won the toss, put Sussex into the bat on a dry, benign wicket. Luke Wells went early but Tom Haines, selected only when Chris Jordan was called up for the English Lions, got his mother to give him a lift from New Malden only arriving at 9-25 and Phil Salt scored their maiden centuries putting on a record second wicket stand of 244 v Durham.
It reflects a Sussex’s tradition of recruitment within the county. Luke Wells comes from Eastbourne, skipper Ben Brown from Crawley. Sussex amassed a total of 439-5 to put us in a seemingly unassailable position.
Haines is an elegant strokemaker and in years to come we might say that we witnessed his first century in the sylvan setting of Arundel.