Sitting at Hove, I found it hard to imagine that this most sedate of county grounds – with its sea air, deck chairs surrounded by the leafy streets of Hove with Jewish Sephardic names ( Goldsmid St, Avigdor St, Montefiore Place) – could produce the betting scandal that took place between Sussex and Kent. I understand that skipper Mike Yardy claims adamantly that he had no idea and I believe him. Noone at the time commented that there was anything suspicious. Yet there was.
The story was broken by the Telegraph and they had a incisive series of articles yesterday with a comment piece from Paul Hayward. He cited the famous comment of writer Keith Waterhouse – “Brighton is helping the police with its enquiries” – and there is no dount that the city does have a dishonest element, whether it’s men cheating on their wives in the seaside hotels, or the superb evocation of crime by another writer-resident Graham Greene in Brighton Rock. At the time it happened cricketers might be lured by dishonest lucre, but nowadays they are well paid for 4 months work. Yardy would be earning £100,000 and has his benefit this year and Matt Prior on a central contract if £350,000. It’s not footballers’ money, but there is not the same clamour for the TV rights .
The ground was two-thirds full for the blast 20/20 game against Hampshire which the latter always on top won by 17 runs. Most, and I plead guilty here, were happy to drink, chat and watch the cricket in that order. It’s a great way to end the working week – particularly as it was not that cold. The razzmatazz of rock music interventions may not please the purist but, if it introduces money and makes it less tempting to be ensnared in a spiders’ web of corruption, it can only be a good thing.