Yesterday I was invited, by the historian of Sussex and board member Jon Firby, to watch the Royal London 50-over game between Sussex and Middlesex. With fixture congestion and the advent of twenty-twenty, the one day game may be squeezed. This would be a shame, as you have the tension of a compacted game, but not so that you cannot construct an innings. It was also fitting that the President of Sussex – JimParks – was one of the stalwarts of Gillette Cup, the first limited over competition, which Sussex won in its first two years in a team with Ted Dexter. 83 years young, playing golf once a week, Jim was fine company. He holds a unique record, being the only Test wicketkeeper to take a wicket whilst bowling when, on an India Tour, Jimmy Binks took over behind the stumps.
Sussex started well, getting to 174 for 3 in 25 overs, but then faltered and Middlesex had the upper hand. They probably would have won anyway, but the heavens opened and Duckworth Lewis awarded the game to the Middlesex Panthers. For Middlesex, I was impressed by Toby Rowland Jones who took 4-42. He would not have played had not Finn been called up for the The Lions. Geoff Boycott was holding forth as only he can on the selection of proven players to the loss of the county side. In the case of Finn, he is scarcely a young blood and one wonders how he will recharge his career with the Lions under Andy Flower after the debacle of the last Ashes. I doubt if the Middlesex committee was that upset, given the performance of Rowland Jones.
I was impressed by the knowledge of the Sussex committee members and their enthusiasm. One member I spoke to was actively involved in community cricket and clearly brought his business skills to the job. Those who knock the county system should take note of the fine work these guys do.