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I am going to base my review of Sussex Cricket Club on my experiences there over the last 2 years, sadly not as a player which if I was anywhere need good enough I would love but as a spectator and more recently as a member.
I am a huge fan of cricket and love to go and see my local team, the mighty Sussex, they are based at the County Ground in Hove, which although not one of the biggest grounds around the country has a reasonable capacity and in my opinion a great atmosphere. In the one day format Sussex are known as the Sussex Sharks, watch out for Sid.
For anyone that doesn't know which I imagine is most people Sussex have been a relatively unsuccessful club at least until that last 10 years or so, the millennium struck and the Sharks rose from the depths to demolish everyone in their sights. They won the county championship 3 times in 2003, 2006 and 2007 with a lot of gratitude to Mushtaq Ahmed who played fantastically and went a long way to win those matches and titles. They were also promoted from division 2 in 2001 and 2010, though of course this also means they were relegated in the preceding years just to bounce right back up. At the same time as this they also were hugely successful in the one day format of the game where they won the Friends Provident Title in 2006, the Pro 40 Tournament in 2008 and 2009 and the newest format Twenty20 in 2009 making that decade surely the decade of the Shark, grrr.
The Stadium/ The Pitch and the Members:
The County ground is, as I previously said, pretty small and I can say this with some confidence having been to both Lords and the Oval which are huge grounds that host international games. It may be small but it also has a very close nit feel you are always near to the ground and the players and constantly wonder whether the next big six is coming in your direction so you need to be prepared to catch it.
The pitch itself, at least as well an amateur like me can tell, is pretty decent; most of the scores seem to be pretty competitive but not so high that results cannot be achieved in a four day game. The whole atmosphere of the place and the enjoyment of the game are enhanced by being a member, you get to sit with other members that you therefore know also love the game and in most cases the same team as you. It is great fun to chat with different people at different games and talk about the players and past performance, I have already talked about past performances so onto...
Ok so there is not much that I can say about the players really, it is kind of cool when you can spot one of them from the other end of the ground and go yeah that's xxx and the person beside you has to pull out their binoculars and still isn't really sure if it is the right person. There have been loads of good players to visit Sussex while I have been there. For any cricket fans I have seen the likes of Alistair Cook, Marcus Trescothick, Dwayne Smith (who has hit some mighty sixes and taking some unbelievable catches not to mention the 4 wickets in an over) and of course how can I write this list without including the legend that is oh Monty Monty, Monty Monty Panesar. There have been more famous names, more international names than those I have mentioned but I think that those are the players that I have most appreciated seeing.
Well as you can imagine the prices are crazy and why not after all once you are in you are in and that is it. I have to admit that we have indulged a few times, the hot dogs and burgers are nice, the ice creams are cold but even more overpriced than they should be but they cake is great. As members we have access to the Pavilion in which they sell extra little goodies like Cake and even some proper hot food like lasagne and casserole. Being a member is great.
Overall it has been fantastic being a member of Sussex County Cricket Club and long may it continue hopefully with more success. I have enjoy the highs and the lows (not so much) and me and my partner have cherished the time we have spent together at these games, bring back the summer.
My Favourite Cricketing Moments:
-Dwayne Smith taking a great one handed catch on the boundary rope.
-Ryan Sidebottom getting hit for 26 in an over.
-My partner saying why are they bowling him when referring to Ollie Rayner as his best was 1 wicket for 20 runs or something, me saying that maybe he will get 2 today well I then thoroughly enjoyed watching him run through the opposition line up taking 5-16(or something like that).
My favourite thing:
-The hours and hours spent watching Sussex play whilst cuddling my partner who was keeping score and enjoying every second of it together.
Having struggled through the last decade or so with the nearest to success in this period being a losing finalist at Lords once in one of the knockout Cups, Sussex have finally brought together a decent side, mixing a few old with many young players and could yet win their first County Championship this season. The 90s were a barren spell for Sussex, never threatening in either of the two main competitions: the County Championship and the National League (the one-day league). Typical of one of the smaller, less fancied counties perhaps. However, the last few years have brought rapid progress, which could culminate in success this season. There are some experienced players, such as Sussex captain Chris Adams, ex-Zimbabwe batsman Murray Goodwin, ex-Pakistani spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, Paul Cottey and Richard Montgomerie. These have been mixed with some young players brought up through the Sussex ranks, such as Matt Prior, Tim Ambrose and Robin Martin-Jenkins. James Kirtley has just made his Test debut in the third test against South Africa, where he won the Man of the Match as he took 8 wickets, including 6 during the South African second innings. The signing of Mushtaq Ahmed has proved to be inspirational. He came to Sussex hoping to get enough wickets to earn himself another international call-up at the age of 34 and has certainly given himself a chance. After 12 matches in the County Championship, he has taken 82 wickets, by far the most of any bowler in the county game this season. He is particularly effective on worn pitches during the second innings, but has often had to bowl long spells throughout games and has done so brilliantly. James Kirtley has been the other main strike bowler for Sussex. As mentioned above, he has just put in an excellent performance on his Test debut for England in the Third Test against South Africa. His England debut was well overdue having been called up for several squads without being selected for the team e
arlier in the season. This of course will mean he will almost certainly play in the final two Tests of the season and, in doing so, miss two of the final four County Championship matches, but everyone at Sussex is delighted that he has made it into the Test team. Other bowlers who have made an impact have been South African off-spinner Mark Davis, young all-rounder Robin Martin-Jenkins and seamers Jason Lewry and Billy Taylor. Paul Cottey has been the surprise star of the batting with a run of crucial centuries in the middle of the season. He may be past his peak but, in the final year of his four-year contract with Sussex after signing from Glamorgan, may well have done enough to earn another. Sussex captain Chris Adams, excellent with the bat in past seasons has had a lean season by his high standards. However, he has run back into form at just the right time with a century against Championship leaders Surrey a couple of weeks ago and centuries in both innings, including one score of 190, in the win against third-placed Lancashire in Sussex's last match which finished yesterday. Openers Murray Goodwin and Richard Montgomerie, despite being slightly inconsistent, have both played their part with a fair number of good scores each. Tim Ambrose also made some valuable runs at number five and has the added bonus that he can also keep wicket, although Matt Prior has usually been chosen as wicketkeeper this season. Prior has been selected for the England Academy in Australia in the winter and, out of him and Ambrose, is generally considered the better wicketkeeper, whilst Ambrose is the better batsman. Both youngsters may yet be in with a chance of becoming England wicketkeeper eventually though, particularly as Alec Stewart retires at the end of the summer Tests. The final player in Sussex's first choice line-up is Robin Martin-Jenkins. He is an all-rounder and has performed well with bat and ball this
seaso n, although has not managed as many runs as he would like in the last few matches. However, he is also young and has huge potential for the future. Currently, Sussex are second in the Championship, just five points behind leaders Surrey with four games to go and, with 22 points available each match, there's plenty to play for. Weirdly, Sussex are also bottom of the National League, something that even the experts cannot fathom, given their impressive form in the 4-day game. However, their form in the one-day games will surely improve if they can get a good start next season. They almost managed to make the semi-finals of the Twenty20 competition this year, one of the other major county competitions, finishing second in the southern division. Watching Sussex has been enjoyable this season. There have been some close and exciting finishes to many of their matches, such as their last Championship match against Lancashire which they won with just ten balls of the four-day match left. Their home ground at Hove, not far from the sea, is quite small compared with other counties, but is very quaint. Hove has been chosen to host a couple of England Under-19 matches in the next fortnight. Sussex also have some excellent 'out-grounds' where they usually play a game each season, such as Arundel (which is very picturesque up on a hill in the castle grounds) and Horsham. At just £10 for an adult to watch a day's play in the County Championship and £15 in the National League, cricket is not particularly expensive to watch either. Whether or not Sussex go on to win the Championship or not, at least this season has marked a real turning point with a genuinely good team, who, at the start of the season, the pundits had confidently predicted would be battling against relegation. Sussex also have many young players who will get better, especially compared with Surrey, and so the future is surely bright for them.
Suusex team success has been put down to one guy called Bevan. He is the one and only he is one of Australia best batsman. He hit runs like someone people drink. This player gets no credit but he deserves it. Without him Susssex would of not be were they are at the moment. So keep on slogging mate. A would have in any dream team and I see has un-stopable. We will be the champions one day. We also has Chris Adams that does amazing only sometimes.
County Ground / Eaton Road / Hove / East Sussex / BN3 3AN