The Royal London Cup has worn many guises since Sussex first the Gillette Cup just over 50 years as the first limited overs format. This year’s competition did not get off to the best of starts for the Sharks with the game rained off at Horsham and losses to Hamsphire at Southampton and to Nottinghamshire last night.
Once again James Taylor was our nemesis. I remember a couple of years ago he was loaned to Sussex and scored a century against the Australians. He is only 25, a compact stylish batsman who reminds me of Gus Logie. I have heard of other batsmen on the edge of the England team, even Alex Hales of the same county, but not Taylor and I cannot understand why.
He scored a half century again as Nottinghamshire always looked liked making Sussex total of 282. Luke Wright and Chris Nash provided the opening foundation of 93 for the Sharks but after them noone made a significant innings. It was left to Alfonso Thomas – on loan from Somerset – and Will Beer to fight a rearguard action. Sussex’ success depended on removing Wessels, Hales and James Taylor cheaply but we did not. On the subject of selectional mysteries I must mention that Chris Read kept wicket beautifully with 6 catches and his century at Horham and 42 last nights shows he is no mug with the bat. Still widely regared on the county scene he is never mentioned as wicket keeping possibility for England but I bet he would have greater impact than Josh Buttler.
I seem to be writing more about Nottingahmshire than Sussex, though our form seriously worries me, so I must refer to the passing of their former player and coach Clive Rice. No test nation has produced better all rounders in the modern era than South Africa: Mike Proctor, Clive Rice, Shaun Pollock and the best of the lot Jacques Kallis. Tony Greig and Garth Le Roux gave sterling service to my county, as did Clive Rice for Nottinghamshire, but the latter never played international cricket. Generally the English all rounder is better in one department, Mooen Ali for example with the bat, but these South African cricketers skills are more evenly balanced and in the case of Kallis extended to fielding too.
Sussex are now in a relegation dogfight in the championship, are effectively out of the Royal London Cup so the game on Tuesday week the match at Hove in the quarter final T20 blast against Northamptonshire Steelbacks assumes great significance.