Sussex’s T20 leading wicket-taker played his last game for the county in their T20 Blast defeat to Hampshire on Sunday at Hove. He says he has many fond memories of winning matches and trophies that he will always treasure.
After being promoted to Sussex’s youth academy in 2007, Beer went on to fulfil a boyhood dream by making his first-class debut for his home county in 2008 at the age of 19.
Beer said: “I’ve had a great 15-year career with Sussex and loved every minute of it. Ever since the age of 12 I wanted to play cricket for Sussex and luckily enough I achieved that dream and will look back at my time with fond memories.”
He played a vital role in a fruitful period in Sussex’s one-day cricket history, including when he took 3-55 across his eight overs at Finals Day in 2009 when the Sharks lifted the T20 trophy, so it comes as no surprise that some of his best memories are those that involved lifting silverware.
Beer continued: “The reason you play professional sport isn’t for those personal accolades, they are obviously nice to achieve but it’s winnings games of cricket and trophies that mean the most. The ones that obviously stick out are the Pro 40 wins early in my career and of course the T20 title at Edgbaston in 2009.”
Having spent 15 years at Hove, the specialist leg-spinner has played alongside the world’s best in all formats and Beer credits Sussex legend and now academy director, Michael Yardy, with having the biggest impact on his career.
“Mike believed in me and backed me the year that we won the white ball trophies in 2009, I was very fortunate to play in a very good side that season, so as a young player I was able to feel my way in because the team around me was so strong," Beer said.
“I am very grateful to Yards as a player at first and then a coach. He helped me a lot with my batting and to become more of an all-round player which massively helped my career. I could go on for hours about the amazing players that I’ve played alongside, and I’ve made some great friends along the way.”
With 106 wickets for Sussex in T20 cricket, Beer will leave as their leading wicket-taker in the competition with an economy of 7.52 from 135 appearances, an achievement that he says will be something he is always proud of.
“It’s definitely something I am proud of, but Millsy (Tymal Mills) is coming up quickly behind me and I’ve got no doubts by this time next year he would have gone past me," he said. “He’s an amazing wicket-taker and person so there isn’t anyone else I’d like to see take that record. In terms of my economy, it was lower a few years ago but these modern batters and their bats have brought it up in recent times!”
After starting his career playing all-formats of the game for Sussex, Beer became known as a white-ball specialist and is proud of the legacy he has created: “My career has taken a bit more of a white-ball path throughout the years, so to be a leading wicket-taker in a specific format in Sussex’s history is something I am incredibly proud of.”
Although he is parting ways with Sussex this year, he is still open to finding a new challenge should the circumstances be right: “I would like to explore any other potential opportunities in the game if there are any, but if there aren’t that’s just the way my cards are dealt.
“I have a career lined up for after cricket with a financial planning company based in Haywards Heath called Servo Private Wealth. I am currently going through my exams and hope to be qualified in 2023 if everything goes to plan. Hopefully I can use my connections in and around cricket to pick up some clients!”
Even though he will no longer be playing cricket in a Sussex shirt, Beer will certainly be a regular at the County Ground for years to come: “I’m a Sussex boy through and through so I won’t be a stranger. I’ve loved my time here and will enjoy following from the sidelines with a beer in my hand, rather than a bat or ball!”
Performance Director Keith Greenfield added: "We all wish Will the very best for his next chapter of his life. Sussex Cricket would like to congratulate him for his career with us and thank him for all the efforts he has put in for the club over the years."