Cricket clubs raring to go for 2021 season full of derbies

The Worthing area's cricket teams are desperate to get back in nets - and hoping for a long season crammed full of derbies.
Harry Dunn batting for Worthing at Broadwater in 2019, the last time there was a full Sussex League season / Picture: Stephen GoodgerHarry Dunn batting for Worthing at Broadwater in 2019, the last time there was a full Sussex League season / Picture: Stephen Goodger
Harry Dunn batting for Worthing at Broadwater in 2019, the last time there was a full Sussex League season / Picture: Stephen Goodger

Worthing, Broadwater, Goring, Findon and Littlehampton are all in division three west of the Sussex League, so there will be be plenty of local rivalry about when the 2021 fixtures get under way.

At present, league officials hope lockdown restrictions will be eased in time for the season to start on Saturday, May 8. But plans have been drawn up for later starts in case Covid continues to restrict local sport.

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Our local clubs are itching to play and anticipating a competitive season.

Worthing captain Harry Dunn said: “Things in the squad feel really good, we’ve all been in contact with one another and it seems like there’s a real buzz to get back into some cricket.

“We’re frustrated we haven’t been able to start some form of pre-season training but have sessions planned for whenever Boris gives us the go-ahead. Everyone’s looking forward to socialising as well.

“It’s going to be an interesting and competitive season with a few local derbies going on. I know the boys will be raring to go with a big trip to Goring first game of the the season.

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“I feel like 0ur season is going to be about consolidation with a few changes going on, including personnel changes around the club. With a talented squad, though, I don’t see any reason why we won’t be competing towards the top of the league. There are a lot of good teams with some very good cricketers so we know it’s going to be a challenge.

“We hope for a full season. Obviously it’s out of our control so all we can do is prepare the best we can. Whether we have 18 matches or five like last season, we’re all looking forward to getting out there.”

Dunn’s father Tim has stepped down as chairman and Dunn jnr thanked him for all his hard work over the years and wished good luck to new chairman Simon Rusbridge.

At Broadwater CC, captain Nigel Waller said they were hoping the government would deliver good news.

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“This time last year we were looking forward to a full league season, then lockdown came along and in the end the league did well to get the August Cup on,” said Waller, whose side are due to visit Pagham for their May 8 opener.

“We’re hopeful of a full season as things do seem to be improving with the vaccinations being rolled out. Hopefully there will be good news for recreational sport when Boris Johnson comes out with his roadmap. Everyone wants a full season.”

Waller said Broadwater could swing into action as soon as cricket was given the green light to return.

And when that happens they are looking forward to playing their part in the division three west scene.

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“I don’t think we’ll lose any players and will have a similar squad to last year. We recruited an overseas player, an Australian opening bowler called Alex Halls from Melbourne, who couldn’t come last year and we’re hoping he may be able to this year, though that’s still uncertain.

“There will be a good standard of cricket in our league, which we were in for the first time in 2019. We’ll be out to enjoy playing and enjoy the social side too.”

Brad Bridson, captain of Findon CC, who begin their season at Littlehampton, is also keen to get started.

He said: “It’s great to see the fixtures released and is something to look forward to. I’m not sure we’ll start on time but fingers crossed we can get going as close as possible to the scheduled start.

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“When we do start we’ll be confident of a good summer. It’s likely there’ll be no overseas players this summer so that definitely evens it up some more, as some clubs rely heavily on them, us less so.

“We’ve got some good young players who really stepped last summer in the August Cup so hopefully they’ll progress some more, and with some of our more experienced players weighing in, we can have a good season and be up in the top half.”

Goring CC said they were ready to go if the season was able to start on time but press officer Sam Shawcross added: “If it’s the golf course and pub instead we won’t mind!

“Last year, the August Cup was a great competition in the circumstances. Our first XI chose to have the summer off but the second XI enjoyed getting out there.”

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There are no new faces as yet at Goring but Shawcross said: “I’m sure we’re be competitive in division three and it’ll be interesting to see how other clubs line up.

“Samuel Botham will be leading the first XI this year, a job he is very much looking forward to.”

At Littlehampton CC, Mike Askew has taken over as co-captain alongside Mac Cox, replacing his brother James Askew. Askew said: “I believe everyone’s fit and well at the club, and we are all raring to get going as soon as we can. It’s the clubs 150th anniversary this year so the club are planning some big events to celebrate.

“The squad have just set up a ‘fitness group’ so there’s a lot of talk about running and cycling at the moment. We will be looking to start training as soon as the government and the ECB gives cricket the go ahead.

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“My joint captain Mac Cox has already been busy planning sessions for pre season. We’ve got a busy pre season planned with tough games against Chippingdale, Waterlooville and Middleton.

“I am very hopeful we will get a full league season in but I guess we will know more about it next week after the government’s announcement. Whatever happens, I am sure the league will have many suitable plans to get cricket played, just like last year.”

Askew said the squad were a close-knit bunc and many had played together for a long time.

“We don’t usually have many comings and goings like other clubs. We have lost one player though, Jack Turner, who has decided to join West Chiltington, and we wish him all the best.

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“We have a potential overseas lined up but I fear Covid may intervene - but fingers crossed he can come over.

“Division three west will be as competitive as ever, and I’m sure there won’t be many points separating the teams from the top and the bottom. I think West Chiltington will be disappointed if they don’t walk away with it though.

“We always look forward to the local games against the likes of Findon, Broadwater and Worthing, as they are usually very close competitive games.

“Our own targets will be to improve from our 2019 season and see where that takes us. James did a fantastic job for six years, and myself and Mac will be looking to continue the hard work he put in, and also bring some fresh ideas to the squad.”

Chippingdale and East Preston are looking forward to division four west action – Clymping are in division five west.

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