Excitement builds ahead of annual Arundel festival

Friends of Arundel Castle Cricket Club executive secretary James Rufey cannot wait to welcome Sussex for the annual Festival of Cricket tomorrow.

Will Beer in action against Surrey at last year's Arundel Festival of Cricket
Will Beer in action against Surrey at last year's Arundel Festival of Cricket

In the first of five consecutive days of cricket, Sussex take on Northamptonshire in a County Championship Division 2 encounter, before Gloucestershire come to town on Sunday in the Natwest T20 Blast (2.30pm).

With Horsham’s festival quashed this year, Arundel will provide Sussex with their only action away from Hove in the whole campaign and Rufey is hopeful they can be perfect hosts yet again.

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He said: “We are always excited to host Sussex each year. We will offer something unique this season, with Arundel being Sussex’s only out-ground games of the summer.

“Hopefully the weather is good for these five days of cricket and we can attract some attractive crowds over the festival’s course.

“We also bring in a number of supporters each year for the beauty this ground offers and we are hopeful that trend continues this year.”

Last year saw a large amount of followers descend of Arundel for the festival with numbers closing in on 20,000 over the five days.

That included a figure of over 7,000 for the T20 clash with Surrey, who boasted Kevin Pietersen in their ranks that day.

Rufey admits that could be tricky to match once again in 2016 but is hopeful for large numbers again this time around.

He added: “I think for last year’s T20 game a number of things were in our favour. It was a local derby against Surrey, they had Kevin Pietersen playing and the weather was fantastic.

“This time around we have Gloucestershire coming here for the T20 clash, who have been playing some good cricket so far this season.

“For the four-day game we hope to have a figure of between 1,500 and 2,000 coming in for each of the four days.”

This time around, Arundel’s schedule has been flipped. Last year T20 action was followed by a County Championship match with Durham.

However, starting tomorrow, a four-day County Championship Division 2 game will be followed by Sunday’s showpiece T20 match with Gloucestershire.

Rufey is hoping the turnaround in scheduling will have a positive affect and said: “Hopefully as the excitement builds around the Championship game here people will then look at coming for the final two days of that game and then the T20 game on Sunday.”

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