Sussex cricket: Umpires rolled dice at Taunton

Sussex bat in the rain
Sussex bat in the rain

By Colin Bowman

Sussex’s 8th match in the Nat West Blast T20 Blast campaign wasn’t a happy one. Not for head coach Mark Davis, his troops, officials and in particular the few hardy Sharks fans who made the trip. It was miserable !

BBC weather charts always had rain in the forecast but as per the trips to Cheltenham and Cardiff that didn’t put Paul and I from travelling. The trip down proved one of the easiest drives for Paul in his Corsa (33k on the clock). The M25 M4 and M5 all behaved themselves impeccably. Mind you we did happen across a stricken ambulance that was well ablaze on the north bound carriage of the M5. My twitter feed recording made the Daily Mirror and Daily Star webpage ! We arrived in Taunton under blue skies and in enough time to enjoy a meal in town.

About an hour before K.O. the first of many showers past over the Cooper Associates County Ground. No real problem at that time as it harmlessly swept by. However that seem to set the pattern for the next four hours. Dark rain clouds kept rolling in over St James Church steeple. Those clouds brought serious amounts of rain which fell for periods of 20 to 30 minutes and then glorious sunshine bathed the virtual full house. The ground staff were having one of those horrible days in the office. Covers on covers off.

Eventually after what seemed an eternity The Sharks marched out with ball in hand, Ross had won the toss, at 5.15 for an 8 over game. Will Beer took a fantastic catch out deep to dislodge Gregory for 7. However Somerset were determined to get very aggressive and promoted Corey Anderson to three. His 41 off 17 balls proved the killer blow. He hit 3 maximums including one that went over our heads and was nonchalantly pouched by a home fan on the top deck. The hosts went on to bludgeon 15 boundaries on route to 102 for 3. In amongst all that Ben Brown took another worldly behind stumps. He is having a great campaign

Whilst all that intense excitement was going on one might of not realised that heavy rain was falling. The umpires and players just seem to be getting on with things. No hint of a movement from the ground staff. It looked as though we were in for a finish come what may. Chris Nash hit two delicious technically correct shots in the first over. A cover drive and cut both for 4. However the inns become becalmed as Sussex lost wickets. Stiaan van Zyl carried the fight with a 42 not out opening knock but that was never enough. We ended up 32 runs short.

After several rain affected matches thus far it seemed quite refreshing to see the umpires give both teams the chance of picking up the much needed two points. The hosts adapted far better to the situation and ran out deserved winners.

Its an occasion for Sussex Cricket to quickly remove from the memory banks. We still have small matter of Nat West T20 Blast quarterfinal qualification to consider. The whole vibe moves back to the 1st Central County Ground on 3rd August when Surrey CCC make the trip south. Its an exciting prospect and perhaps we are now in must win territory. Lets get a massive crowd down there and cheer the Sharks on