It might of been a disastrous final fling for Gloucestershire CCC and their fabulous Cheltenham Festival but I am sure for travelling Sharks fans it was a joyous celebration.
This columnist virtually skipped out the ground on a real high knowing that a point puts Sussex back in the Nat West T20 picture.
The trip to Cheltenham started badly for yours truly when the SOLD OUT banners appeared three weeks ago. Since that time I had been putting out feelers both here in Sussex and Bristol. As time went by it was clear that this fixture had really captured the imagination and tickets were looking very hard to come by. Indeed setting out this morning it was unclear whether this report was going to come from inside or outside the ground. But contacts came through and my travelling companion Paul Elford suddenly appeared with a coveted ticket. Many thanks to him,
Jon and scorer Mike for looking after me.
Gloucester are probably rightly proud of their out-ground some 30 away from Bristol HQ. Cheltenham is picture perfect with a beautiful Abby along side and imposing clubhouse. Fans are well catered for with 4 large temporary stands, three well run public bars and interesting food outlets. I choose the hand crafted oven baked pizza at £6 and two pints of Tribune £9. It might of been a sell out but not once did you feel penned in. If Sussex ever have the honour of featuring in this festival again I would jump at the chance.
Sussex skipper Ross Taylor won his third toss on the trot and perhaps under peer pressure choose to bat rather than take the ball. It was a decision that was well greeted by Paul and I as we settled in behind the bowlers arm. The impressive Luke Wright cant always carry the team so it wasn't really a surprise when he went early to a very fine running catch. Chris Nash and Ben Brown went well both getting into the 30s as the score past 80. Taylor looked a little out of touch but in truth he did well to score 47 not out off 40 balls. Perhaps the essence of a stuttering inns was provided on 120 runs. Three wickets in three balls put the hosts on top as Evans (LBW), Wiese (caught behind) and Jordan (run out) fell. Jofra Archer scored a very quick 22 leaving Sussex on an under par 156 for 9.
As half time approached fine rain began to fall but that was just a prelude to a 20 min unpredicted monsoon deluge. The Beer Tent were suddenly very busy as ground staff rushed the covers on. For the next hour it was covers on covers off with much scratching of heads and looking sky wards. The tonoi blasted out such tunes as 'Singing in the Rain' and 'Walking on Sunshine' as fans dug in and waited for news. But all that hard work with the covers proved unrewarded as the cut off time came and went. A no result and a point a piece.
Huge congratulations to Gloucestershire CCC for a wonderful festival and a big mention to the hard working ground crew. However rain turned up which probably fell in favour of the visitors. Its a point that Mark Davis can now build upon as we march to the Ageas Bowl on Thursday evening. Victory at Hampshire and his T20 campaign will be flying.
That's the first away trip done on this 14 match T20 Blast adventure. The old 206 behaved very well and Paul was excellent company through out. All things considered a point well made.