Sussex stars set for Arundel Festival

Sussex's Mike Yardy, who will miss this year's festival through injury, in action at Arundel last year
Sussex's Mike Yardy, who will miss this year's festival through injury, in action at Arundel last year

SUSSEX County Cricket Club’s Zac Toumazi has hailed the ‘special’ pull of Arundel’s Castle Ground ahead of the county side’s annual Festival of Cricket.

The chief executive is looking forward to returning to the town for both a T20 Blast match against Somerset on Sunday, before a four-day LV County Championship match against Somerset, which starts on Monday.

Toumazi spoke of the importance of preserving festival cricket and of people getting behind the out-ground games ahead of Sussex’s annual visit later this week.

He said: “We always look forward to it as it’s a very special event and a great cricket venue.

“It is one of the most beautiful places to watch cricket and something we all look forward to each year. I cannot actually believe it has been a year already since the last festival, it has flown by.”

Many counties have seen reduced festival cricket in recent years, and Sussex were almost forced to cancel this year’s festival at Horsham over costs. Arundel, which always draws in bumper crowds, was never under threat this year, and Horsham was saved by emerging sponsors.

Toumazi said: “It is a different model for Arundel as it generally takes more people and we have a different agreement. Although Arundel was never in doubt this year, and as I have said in programme notes, festival cricket needs everyone to stay behind it and support it.

“Too many people have lost their festival cricket due to numbers (dwindling). Some are very vibrant still, like Scarborough, which has weeks of festivals, but other places have the support of councils.

“It’s fair to say we need to work hard to preserve it. My message would be to come out, get behind your county club as you only have one, and we have one of the most beautiful places in England to watch cricket and it will be very special.”

Full story in this week’s paper.