Friday night is cricket night around here, and so when work wrapped up it was off to the Hove County Ground for an evening’s T20. A colleague gave me a lift into Hove, and I schlepped it to the ground after popping into Tesco to stock up on provisions. I was going to buy a ticket for the Euromillions lottery, as the jackpot was £92 millions, but unfortunately (or otherwise?) the branch of Tesco which I popped into didn’t sell lottery tickets. It could have been me…

Anyway, to the ground, where I asked the stewards on my way in if it was going to rain. They reckoned not, apparently they had received word from the groundsman. I was sceptical; it had rained on and off during the day up to that point, and the clouds were hanging heavy and gray overhead. But so it turned out – we stayed dry throughout, and the rain only came once I had returned home.

Essex won the toss and decided to bowl, putting Sussex in to bat first. Of course the openers were Nash and Wright, and I really hoped that they would take the game away from Essex from the start. As it was, they got in, but then unfortunately they both got out, Wright for twenty and Nash for twenty-two. Then Jayawardene had a go, and scored 53, but unfortunately no-one could stay with him, and Sussex could only post 140 from their twenty overs. Topley took two wickets, as did Bopara, and Shaun Tait (used to play for Australia) took three.

I had a couple of pints of Amstel during the first innings, as I couldn’t face the Sharks Gold bitter, apparently it’s made by North Laines brewery, so it’s a good local effort, and it’s good for both partners, I reckon, but unfortunately I don’t like the taste.

Sussex came out into the field then, for the second innings, and Essex were in. They opened with Jesse Ryder and Mark Pettini. I guess Jesse is New Zealand’s answer to KP – explosive, exciting to watch, and with his own off-field issues. Tonight he hit two lovely sixes to get the innings off to a good start, and then was promptly out. No matter though, Pettini scored 48 and Westley 47, both at a pace, and so at the tail-end of the innings the required rate per over was two or thereabouts. As it was Essex wrapped it up within seventeen overs, and I was already at the train station by then, waiting to get home.

It was good to be able to see some stars of the game playing; Bopara, Ryder, Tait and Jayawardene. It was a shame that Sussex did so poorly, but to me the result is immaterial, really. I don’t get into a fug about it. I had a nice chat with a Welsh guy who supported Glamorgan, of course, and was hoping for Wales to win against Belgium in the World Cup qualifiers. I was able to hook into the Sussex wi-fi and keep him updated on their progress (Wales won 1-0), and we discussed England’s chances against New Zealand, and it was just a relaxed evening where I could focus on me and my wants. I have a fairly relaxed life any way, but there is something restorative about spending time at the cricket and aligning with the rhythms of the game. Focusing on the game and forgetting the demands of work and life at home takes me out of myself, and brings down the blood pressure, or at least it feels like that sometimes. I’m off again to see Sussex play Surrey at Arundel, I just hope they put on a better show today than they did on Friday.


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