County cricket schedule finds favour with Sussex coach

Sussex coach Mark Davis says the ECB should be commended for the way the county schedule has been arranged this year.

Sussex CCC coach Mark Davis
Sussex CCC coach Mark Davis

Sussex have had a few days off this week to prepare for the final month of the season and their push for promotion from division two of the Specsavers County Championship.

It comes after a hectic period of T20 cricket and although the Sharks missed out on a place in the quarter-finals – pipped on net run rate by Somerset – it wasn’t because of to the tournament’s format, according to Davis.

“I’ve been involved in county cricket for more than 15 years as a player and coach and I think this year’s schedule is as good as it’s ever been in that time,” said Davis.

“Playing T20 in a block allowed us to concentrate on our white-ball skills over a concerted period of time and although we didn’t go through I think we have improved as a T20 side this year because we’ve been able to concentrate on the format.

“There were a number of positives. Youngsters like Jofra Archer and George Garton have stepped up with the ball, Stiaan van Zyl took his chance at No3 and was very effective and our fielding has definitely improved. We look a stronger side now than we did at the start of the tournament. So that’s a consolation, even though we didn’t qualify.”

Although they missed out on the last eight by the narrowest of margins, Davis knows Sussex squandered enough chances earlier in the tournament to have got through.

“We had other opportunities to win games and we didn’t, although over the course of 14 games every team could say the same,” added Davis.

“At Lord’s we needed five off the last over and lost and the tie against Kent, when we needed eight off the final over, was another disappointment, as was the game at Taunton when we should never have played because of the conditions. We should have got a point that day, it was very hard to take.”

Sussex’s focus switches to the red ball next week when their promotion challenge resumes at Colwyn Bay against Glamorgan. It is their first visit there since 2000, when Chris Adams put the home side in and saw them rack up more than 700 with Steve James scoring an unbeaten triple hundred.

“There are still a few people at the club who remember that game,” laughed Davis. “We’re not sure what to expect but I’ve got a few spies out who will have a look at the pitch.

“But we’re going into it in good form in the Championship. We’ve won four out of the last five and we are looking forward to what the rest of the season has in store. The boys have had a few days away from cricket and they are raring to go, we definitely have momentum and feel we can get the second promotion place.

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