Sunday saw the start of the cricket season, for me. They have already played several county games, and last Friday saw their first T20 game away from home (they lost to Kent), but as this was the first T20 match at home, this was my opener. I have again bought a Sharks Membership, although they have renamed it to T20+ this year, as it includes the home One-Day Cup games as well.
I packed my old rucksack, brushed down my wide-brimmed Sussex cricket hat, ferreted out my binoculars and the old red fleece, and set off to the station. We were held up at Worthing for a few minutes, but eventually moved on. We got to Hove and I headed to Tesco to stock up on supplies; I had already made myself a sandwich but I fancied a little something extra. I searched for a pork pie, but they were sold out. I briefly considered a sausage roll, but quickly dismissed that idea as there was no brown sauce, and moved on to the sweets. I surveyed the pastry shelves but at that time of day (14:00) they were pretty thin on the ground. I settled on a Reese’s Nut Bar and scuttled out (after paying, of course).
As I got to the ground, I thought they should have been playing Slight Return by Bluetones, with its refrain of “I’m coming home…”. I was immediately relaxed and the weather certainly helped; it was sunny with a slight breeze and still had the coolness that you expect in May. Gloucestershire had already won the toss and decided to field first, so I found a seat and sat down sharp-ish, as play got underway.
Wright was out pretty quickly, but Nash stuck in and partnered Jayawardene pretty successfully; coincidentally they both got 43 each before they lost their wickets. Jayawardene was bowled, and Nash succumbed to an injury before he was caught. The rest of the batting was nothing to write home about, so I won’t, and Sussex got to 167 for 5, which I thought was a bit low. I seem to remember Gloucs ran Sussex’s score down fairly easily last time, so I was worried for Sussex.
So Gloucs came into bat, and Dent was out first ball, which was a good start. Cockbain was out in the third over, and they weren’t scoring quickly, so they started to appear to be under the cosh. But Marshall and his improbable hair dug Gloucs out of a tricky situation; eventually he was out for 45 off 29 deliveries. After that, Sussex always had the upper hand; Gloucs came back at the end and needed 19 off the last two overs. They stayed in touch too, until the penultimate delivery; they still needed 8 to win but only scored one. The crowd, who were subdued most of the day, cheered, and then the final delivery fizzled out and Sussex had won their first T20 game of the season.
During the Gloucs innings they did manage to smash a six, and it came pretty close to me. I ducked out of the way, and another spectator tried to catch the ball – but failed. That was quite exciting, but I’ve been going for a few years now, I suppose it was going to happen one day.

A brilliant day, in summary, and I am looking forward to more games during the summer. Possibly more reports to come.

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