Festivals are an agreeable feature of the season when cricket is taken into and around the county. It’s not always viable – sponsorship was difficult to attract to Horsham. In his programme notes Chief Executive Zac Toumazi observed that if there is a fixture cutback there may be doubts whether Sussex CCC can continue to play at Horsham. This would be sad as it’s a lovely, rural picturesque ground surrounded by trees with a church steeple in a handsome town of elegant streets which lead over the River Arun across a churchyard to the ground.
John Pargiter was my guest. He made a number of assumptions all of which proved wrong. The first was the Open would finish yesterday. The second was that there would be a television enabling us to watch the action. The third was the weather would hold. After a failed dismal day for Sussex which ended with Nottinghamshire posting 570 and Sussex 157 for four , neither of us was that upbeat trudging though Horsham in the rain. John was following the play-off on his radio. I was approached by a drunken weirdo in the town centre who said he was too travelling by train to Brighton, forcing us to take evasive action. I suspect John’s mood was affected by only one of his picks Louis Outshuizen bringing back the bacon and contriving to miss a three foot putt which would have had him level going into the 18th for the fourth play off hole.
James Taylor 291 was the highest score inning ever at Horsham and only 26 runs short of the biggest Nottinghamshore ever . He did his chances of England test selection no harm given that the places of Ian Bell ,whose 215 was the previous highest score at Horsham, and Balance are under threat. The explosive Alex Hales is a more likely pick but he is not an opener and failed with the bat on Sunday.
Sussex toiled away. It was three o’clock before a wicket was taken as Taylor and Chris Read put on over 365 without giving a chance. Once Taylor was out, they declared and Sussex after reaching 79 for 0, dropped 4 wickets . It will be a long haul to survive 6 more sessions and with good weather predicted another defeat looks on the cards. We definitely miss Mills, Shahzad, Anyon and Hatchet and a crafty spinner in our bowling attack. If Luke Wright fails with the bat we will not amass a large enough total so it’s up to him and Cauchopa the Kiwi with a Portuguese father to fight the rearguard action. All the time the bottom two places look closer.
On Mondays Tony Cottey the former Sussex batsman and now in charge of business development brings both teams to the Players Club. I enjoyed talking to Craig Cauchopa and congratulated him on his wicket keeping in the T20 Blast, proving my theory that there is no such thing as an unpleasant New Zealander but understandably the other Sussex players did not hang around. They need a good night’s sleep as it will be a hard day today.