Eastbourne, Horsham and Arundel visits scrapped by Sussex cricket chiefs

Sussex Cricket have had to abandon hopes of getting to their three outgrounds - Eastbourne, Horsham and Arundel - in 2021.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 9:00 am
The Sharks in one-day action at Eastbourne / Picture: Jon Rigby
The Sharks in one-day action at Eastbourne / Picture: Jon Rigby

The county says it has made 'the difficult decision' to play all men’s home first team matches at the 1st Central County Ground at Hove this summer.

It's because of continuing uncertainty over how much of a 'normal' season will be ppssible as Covid lockdown regulations are lifted - with the pandemic already having deprived the three popular grounds around the county of a Sussex visit last summer.

They insist they remain determined to get back to all three grounds in 2022.

Sussex at Horsham - playing Somerset - in 2015 / Picture: Steve Robards

Sussex said: "The decision was taken in consultation with the club’s partners at Arundel Castle CC, Eastbourne CC and Horsham CC, who agreed that current circumstances make it impossible to host outground cricket this summer."

Sussex chief executive Rob Andrew explained: “After being unable to visit our wonderful outgrounds last summer, we had all hoped that Sussex would be able to play at Arundel, Eastbourne and Horsham in 2021. Sadly, the operational requirements of hosting matches as the country emerges from the pandemic mean that it isn’t feasible to take the team away from the 1st Central County Ground.

“Bringing county cricket to as many parts of Sussex as possible continues to be very important to the club and we look forward to playing at our outgrounds in 2022 and beyond. I’d like to thank James, Ian and Chris for their understanding and their continued enthusiasm for hosting us in the years to come.”

Friends of Arundel Castle CC chief operating officer James Rufey said, “Whilst we are disappointed that we will not see Sussex at Arundel Castle this season, we fully understand and respect the decision to host all cricket at Hove. We look forward to welcoming Sussex again in 2022, when we will also be celebrating 125 years of cricket on the ground. We wish Sussex every success this season”.

Arundel Castle is a picturesque spot for cricket / Picture - yasps.co.uk

Eastbourne CC chairman Ian Fletcher-Price said, “As much as we will miss hosting Sussex this summer, this is a common sense decision for all parties given the circumstances. We very much look forward to welcoming the team back in 2022 and resuming the association between Sussex Cricket and The Saffrons.”

Horsham CC club manager Chris Shambrook said: “It’s turning out to be a slightly longer wait to welcome county cricket back to Horsham than we had hoped, but this is clearly the sensible decision for 2021. All the work that has gone into bringing Sussex back to Cricket Field Road won’t be wasted though and we are very excited at the prospect of hosting the team as part of our delayed 250th anniversary celebrations next year.