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Sussex Membership 2015

11-Nov-2014

Sussex Membership 2015

We’re delighted to announce that this year’s membership packages will go on sale on 1st December. Ahead of their release, we wanted to tell you more about membership so you can be sure you know the right package for you.

As an added incentive to book early, if you buy or renew your membership online before the 31st December, or sign-up to direct debit by 6th January 2015, you’ll receive a 10% discount on the cost of your membership package. 

For the ultimate cricket fan, our Premier membership package, providing entry to all Sussex home matches across all three formats of the game for just £250. This year, Premier Members have the option to upgrade their seat to a reserved seat in the South Stand for £150. 

Further down the order, our Standard membership package is now Championship+, giving you access to all LV=CC home matches plus all Royal London One-Day Cup group fixtures at Hove, Arundel or Horsham for just £200, whilst Shark membership has become T20+ and gives you entry for all the fire and fury of NatWest T20 Blast home group fixtures, plus all the 50-over action of the Royal London One-Day Cup - all for just £120 a season.

Junior membership is changing to Junior Sharkz membership, which, at just £15, includes entry to home matches across all three formats of the game and a free goody bag.

All Members also have the option to upgrade to a Gold Seat £100 and, whatever package you choose, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy a great range of additional benefits, with discounts of up to 10% in the Club Shop and other discounts as part of our Members’ Discount Scheme, priority booking for knock-out matches in cup competitions and much more.

If you’re already a Member, your renewal pack will drop through your door early December, with a choice to renew online or return the form included in the pack, so make sure you’re ready to join us for another fantastic season at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground.

For any enquiries in the meantime, please email membership@sussexcricket.co.uk

#GOSBTS

Sussex CCC's head groundsman, Andy Mackay

Pitch Perfect

24-Sep-2014

Pitch Perfect

Match day! I left home at 6am this morning (which is far too early for civilised people) in order to be at the ground early so we could open the pitch up and give the overnight dew and condensation time to dry off before the start of play. The pitch, wicket, deck, track or what-ever-you-want-to-call-it has been covered over night with the roll on covers for the last 15 days, and surrounded by the side sheets and run-up covers for the last two, but even wrapped up in this manner it is not immune to the late summer conditions and cool nights that are starting to creep up on us. 

As the ‘domes’ are removed it is as we expected: the dry, hard pitch that we covered last night now has a dampness to the leaf that has nothing to do with the actual preparation of the surface and everything to do with the elements. Ten minutes after removing the covers the sun crests over the score-board and a blanket of yellow sunlight which moments before was just gracing the pavilion, creeps inexorably towards middle, the shadows shrinking away as we glare at them. By 7am the pitch is bathed in bright, early morning sun and by 9am, just as the players begin to appear we were wondering what all the fuss was about. The pitch is hard and dry, perhaps a ‘day behind’ given the last week or so of cool nights and heavy dews, but really I’m nit-picking here: we have a good surface to play this important fixture on, one of three prepared for this last game of the summer at Hove.

We are not in the habit of preparing three wickets for one fixture but the wicket in question (pitch number nine), chosen the day before after much head scratching and wandering between the three by Robbo and Ed, is a re-laid wicket built in Sept 2011 which has never been used before. This particular wicket was prepared earlier in the season for the Durham Championship fixture along with a back-up, but I didn’t quite like the look of it so it was abandoned in mild disgust. Following more remedial work I felt that it should come good for the Lancs game but since I couldn’t be certain we prepared another wicket… and then, because I felt that we could, we also prepared a third just for the sheer hell of it. For the record these were pitch number 13, which we used against Somerset in the Championship earlier in the year and pitch number five, which we used against Middlesex. All three were well grassed and looked good, but I’m pleased we chose the unknown, exciting wicket in the middle because should it play well, and all indications are that it will, then I can chalk off another re-laid wicket as ‘back in play’.

Once the covers were away in their protective bags the lads peeled off to the nets to get them ready for 9am and Greg and I rigged up the rope that we run between the tractor and the buggy for the purpose of ‘roping off’ the dew. Now, this is my absolute favourite thing to do because as you wiz round and round with the rope there is a spray of dew that follows and in the buttery morning light it is a thing of magnificence which almost makes up for the early start. We then set to work on erecting fielding nets, cutting the pitch and applying the roller (a quick five minutes with the heavy roller this morning because of the dew). The final job is to cut the square and tidy up any blobs of grass clipping that have dropped off the mower as it turns at the end of each pass. 

The forecast is set fair for the whole match, we have done everything we can and now it’s up to the two side to fight it out. We now have a chance for a cup of coffee and a chat while we await the time to set the stumps just before the toss and the last minute taking down of fielding nets etc. We’re a pretty mixed bunch so the conversation can range from Big Brother to Bizet depending on the day in question. This morning I took the time to elucidate on the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign to the lads… though it was met with a mixed reception and I may not have won over many minds amongst the 18 to 23 year old male demographic (Greg is in his very own demographic by the way). At least we didn’t talk about Big Brother though… or Saurez.

In the middle I have a pitch that looks good and solid. There are narrow cracks all over it, as one would expect with a new pitch and especially a new pitch made out of our heavy, high-shrinkage soil but the cracks are utterly stable under the 2 ½ tonne roller. The grass is dry and wilted and the ground looks neat if not pretty (I’m afraid that I murdered the entire outfield last week with roundup prior to the end of season works, and today it is starting to look decidedly peaky). So why am I nervous? I have a bad case of what I refer to as PMT, or Pre-Match Tension. It’s emotional rather than rational, but is not helped by the arrival of Pitch Liaison Officer David Capel who has been asked to conduct a random check of the pitch in order to make sure we’re not cheating by leaving it too seamer friendly, or perhaps too dry and bare in areas for the spinners. 

Of course we can also be penalised if there is too much variable bounce or the wicket is too ‘flat’: the penalty for any of these sins being an eight point deduction for the home side. This makes re-laying pitches a tricky business because new pitches do not always play ball and so even through doing the right thing and trying to create a better, more exiting surface for the future we can come unstuck and potentially loose points. My conscience is clear on this matter though, and if we ever do lose points because a re-laid pitch hasn’t done what we thought it would then I can hold my head up high, look myself in the mirror and know that I’ve done everything for the right reasons and that when I do one day leave the Club (probably in a coffin) that I will have created something that can be enjoyed for years, and those horrible, slow, pitches that we had when I arrived are in landfill. Anyway, David is a lovely chap, but even so, I will feel much happier when he leaves.

The new pitches will only get better over time, but for now, all I can do is wait and see if all the hard work that has gone into the preparation of the wicket and the ground over the last two weeks or so is about to come good. The hearty breakfast that follows the start of the match for my team and I comes as a welcome consolation for any nerves. 

GOSBTS!


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