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County championship woes

The county cricket championship is under way and Sussex CCC have the thin end of the bat.

The mini league format of the last Covid-stricken season was re-adopted with Sussex placed in an ‘odds and sods’ group along with Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northants and Glamorgan.

The championship starts earlier this season and in bitter cold.  In Sussex’s first game at Lancashire the players had a snowball fight as play was called off on the final day.

To accommodate the Hundred in July – in which the ECB have invested £42m – the 4 day season will be wrapped up late in September.  There are also the Royal London and T20 Blast to fit in.

Sussex, according to their accounts, have a wage bill of £3 million against a turnover of £5 million and last year made a loss of nearly £500,000.

There had to be cut backs so we said goodbye to senior pros Luke Wells (who went to Lancashire), Laurie Evans (back to his first county Surrey),  and Danny Briggs.

The accent is on youth and Tom Haines has stepped up to the plate with a century against Lancashire and 87 in the ongoing match at Glamorgan.

Because of a pitch infestation Sussex cannot play  at Hove.

Cricket has changed so much in the last 20 years. Before central contracts you played for your county and turned out for England.

Now it’s the other way around and I wonder how much we will see of Jofra Archer.

Even without him Sussex have a powerful T20 side with Travers Head and Rashid Khan and hopefully some appearances from Chris Jordan whose catch on the run in India was one of the highlights of that tour.

We also said goodbye to Jason Gillespie, returning to coach South Australia. He is replaced by joint coaches Ian Salisbury (red ball) and James Kirtley (white ball).

Let’s see  how that works out.

Sarah Taylor is coming as wicket keeper coach.

She is an accomplished wicket keeper but suffers from depression.

Some things don’t change and I spent a happy hour delving into my 2021 Wisden which arrived yesterday.

True, the primrose-covered almanac has articles on the environment and a section on women’s cricket you would not have seen 20 years ago.

It is an excellent review of the season and compendium of records.

I was delighted that 46 year old Darren Stevens of Kent was one of their 5 cricketers of the season (Ben Stokes, Zak Crowley, Dom Sibley and Mohammed Rizwan were the other four).

About Ivan Conway

Ivan Conway will be reporting on Sussex sport. He is a member of the 1901 club at Brighton HAFC, Sussex County Cricket Club and an enthusiastic horse race goer. After selling his freight forwarding and conference business he settled in Hove. His other interests are bird watching, brass rubbing and bridge. More Posts