Sussex by the sea

Sussex Sharks 155-7 beat Somerset Sabres 103 all out by 52 runs – County Ground Hove – Tuesday 1st June 2010 – Friend Provident Twenty20 Cup
Arise Sir Twenty20.  However thought of the concept deserves a ruddy medal.  It is not everyone’s cup of tea.  The sight of Bumble last night watching a rather buxom cheerleader jog behind the bowlers arm in tight hotpants and little else will testify to that, but for sheer bloody entertainment you cannot beat it.

Let the Razzmatazz begin

Last night saw the 2010 season kick off, with a repeat of the final from August last year when the Sussex Sharks beat the Somerset Sabres.  Sharks I just get, being close to the sea and all that, but the Sabres?  What has a curved single bladed back sword have to do with the home of Cider and Cheddar cheese I will never know – but then again apart from having the same letter to start their names, Are Durham electric generators (Dynamos),  Yorkshire Carnegie – isn’t that just cheating and selling out as sponsorship and where are the ghosts in Derbyshire?

Anyway, the TBIR team headed down to enjoy some typical Summer evening weather – cold and wet.  Miraculously the game started on time with Sussex being asked to have a slog first.  The teams walked out to a fireworks style opening and indulged in the football tradition of the hand shake line up – how very inclusive.

Hove is a great ground for cricket.  If it wasn’t for the permanently installed floodlights (floodlights?  That is just not cricket!) you would struggle to find the ground from the road – and that means loads of private residents have a view to die for.  The club had installed a huge temporary bank of seats in the members car park, which I am sure pleased them no end, to take advantage of the demand for tickets.  We were fortunate on two counts – firstly we had bagged a prime parking space at EFW Towers just a bouncer away from the ground, and secondly we had bagged our tickets in the family section at Cow Corner – after all who wants to drink beer at a cricket match!  This is Twenty20 after all!

Shoddy workmanship

Sussex started off like a proverbial train – Luke Wright scored 39 off just 19 balls including an amazing four which quite literally shattered his bat.  Included in his knock was 6 x 4 and 2 x 6 meaning that he scored 36 off just 10 balls!  He was ably supported by Murray Goodwin (30) and Ed Joyce (14) and at one point the Sharks looked destined for a 180+ score.  Dwayne Smith, the West Indian international re-signed for the Sharks this week to a great fanfare and the locals eagerly watched him walk out at number four, only to see him return straight away, LBW to Kartik for a golden duck.

Sussex then failed to capitalise on their good lead with Yardy and Joyce falling behind the run a ball rate before a late spurt from Arafat and Hodd of 40 runs in 13 balls took them to 155 for 7.

Littlest Fuller's artistic take on the game

Littlest Fuller was having a whale of a time.  A self confessed cricket hater, she was up in the air when all the boundaries were hitting and applying her lippy just before the cameraman swept across the crowd.  She spent the first hour of play drawing the ground from her perspective – copies of her work can be purchased from TBIR towers, signed of course! The interval brought out various events aimed at amusing the children and those who had over indulged in beer.  First we had Sharky (?) the Shark in a time trial sprint across the pitch.  Then we had a catching competition and finally the drummers – Rhythm Pitch and Base I think they were called.  And that solved my earlier mystery.  On queuing for the gents I looked up (as any gent would know you do not look down, and especially not to the side!) and saw a face I recognised.  The Gents is not a place to blurt out “I know you, but why?” so I racked my brains to think where and when.  Eventually I worked out that this guy was the leader of said drummers, who had appeared on the Dragons Den on Bravo on Sunday morning! They didn’t get the cash by the way but Theo Paphitis enjoyed a good bang.

Is there a better way to watch a game?

Somerset opened with the formidable pair of Trescothick and new England star (and World Cup Winner – that feels good to say!) Kieswetter, and put on 47 in a blink of the eye – few people would have put their money on a Sussex win, although Lolly said she fancied a 50 run win for the home side – what does a 10 year old girl know about cricket anyway.  As Kieswetter laid into Turner and Trego the camera focus on two lucky chaps who were sitting by the side of the pitch in a jacuzzi.  These lads had won a competition on a local radio station and I am sure were excited by a balmy summer’s evening sipping beers on the side of the pitch watching the lithe dancing girls gyrate up and down.  Instead they got drizzle and a a constant fight between two puppies in a very small kennel.  Another large lad thought he would do the saintly thing in returning a ball to the fielder as it struck the boundary, but with the TV cameras focusing on him he lost his balance, crashed through the advertising board and fell onto the pitch – and thus liable for arrest surely officer.  The good news was that he did manage to keep his pint up straight though – all the fun of the Twenty20!

Four quick wickets later and I had Lolly whispering “told you so” in my ear and Sussex sniffing an unlikely win.  Kieswetter was running out of partners, but then Buttler came to the crease and a swift 27 from him put the game back into Somerset’s grasp.  But with a final twist, the away team managed to lose their final six wickets for just thirteen runs in little over 4 overs, falling 52 runs short.  “See told you so” said Lolly.  I reminded her that a) it was actually a 52 run and not a 50 run victory so she was wrong and b) It was past her bed time so any bet would be invalid.

Bumble may not have been impressed but it amused the kids and that makes me a great Dad for taking them.  Can I ask for anymore than that?  Not if I am looking for a pass for a TBIR/EFW day out on Saturday I can’t!

More photos from the game can be found here.

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