Bowman on the Road: Saffrons shines but Sussex's One Day campaign hangs by a thread

Iconic Bell Tower under clear skies
Iconic Bell Tower under clear skies

Eighteen County Cricket Clubs and their respective army of fans have recently been engrossed in an intense but exciting round of eight Royal London One Day Cup games in 21 days.

For our Club it’s been a real roller coaster of emotions full of incredible highs and frustrating lows. It all started with a trip to cricket HQ, Lords, on April 27.

After being battered around and then skipper Luke Wright suffering a golden duck heavy rains came to the rescue leaving a no match and a point a piece. On Sunday April 30 the same combination seemed to be on the cards at a very soggy 1st Central County Ground against Somerset.

The weather suddenly turned late in the afternoon but Sussex could not chase down the Duckworth Lewis adjusted total leading to a loss.

Fortunes turned in amazing style with three quick wins on the bounce. Home wins against Glamorgan and Surrey would have had members purring with delight. For me however a win at the St Lawrence Ground Canterbury (Friday May 5) has been the outstanding highlight of the season. Laurie Evans (130 odd not out ) and Harry Finch 80 runs were the mainstays of a thrilling run chase. To quote Max Boyce ‘I was there!’

At that point Sussex looked a shoe in for the knock out stages of the competition. A frustrating loss at sunny Chelmsford on May 10, where individual errors mounted up, led to a critical match against Gloucestershire at Eastbourne last Sunday.

Ian Fletcher-Price looking resplendent in club colours.  A proud day for Eastbourne CC.

Ian Fletcher-Price looking resplendent in club colours. A proud day for Eastbourne CC.

Eastbourne CC chairman Ian Fletcher-Price had for months been working hard to bring County Cricket back to the Saffrons after a 17-year gap.

All that hard work paid off as the Saffrons looked as pretty as a picture. Under perfect late spring sunshine there wouldn’t of been one person in the 3,500 crowd who could not have been very impressed.

The catering outlets perfect, public bars well stocked and well run, lots of toilet facilities. The outfield looked amazing and track perfectly playable. In short Eastbourne CC served up a product to be very proud of and there is every hope for more of the same next season.

It was therefore a major disappointment that Sussex head Coach Mark Davis's team couldn't produce when it really mattered.

Happy visitors from Bristol.  They enjoyed the Eastbourne experience.

Happy visitors from Bristol. They enjoyed the Eastbourne experience.

Skipper Luke Wright can be very pleased with a battling 84 opening knock. He put in a real shift out there and glued his team together. Except for perhaps rising star Jofra Archer, who smashed a very exciting quick fire 30, none of the other recognised batsman performed.

It led to a rather sombre Saffrons as Sussex posted a below par 240 runs. Despite an aggressive opening spell from Archer and overseas Taylor that was never going to be enough against a very well organised batting performance. There were several late drops but in truth the game was up when Will Beer was smashed for 16 off his last over.

Huge congrats to the visitors for executing a well defined game plan and working hard in the field.

They fully deserved their victory. As for Sussex their Royal London Cup prospects were hanging by a thread and only a mixture of results last night might of put them through. Sussex were at the Ageas Bowl Hampshire needing a win. Trust me if Sussex are sitting in third place this morning there will be an outpouring of emotion and quarter final discussion. If they are any lower then the grind of picking County Championship points will be back on the menu.

Me at the Saffrons

Me at the Saffrons

Its been a real blast following Sussex's 2017 Royal London One-Day Cup campaign over the past three weeks. Entertaining, thrilling and agonising in equal measures. I hope it continues.