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Sussex's saplings cut down

By Charles Randall at Arundel

4 May 1998

Hampshire (183-9) bt Sussex (107) by 76 runs

ARUNDEL is a delight for cricket lovers, mostly for its grass banking and array of trees, which range from the dominant horse chestnut to the mature limes, oaks and holm oaks that permit a tantalisingly masked view of the castle.

If the scenery was the essence of English cricket, so was the lovingly prepared pitch, a slow, dreamy strip of the type every club player would be familiar with.

It made the professionals toil and helped inflict Sussex's eighth successive AXA League defeat, stretching back into last season. Youth proved no match for experience this time.

Any bowler at medium-fast pace who could bowl straight, keeping a good length, would pose problems. Hampshire had three such men, gnarled professionals with the ideal credentials: Peter Hartley, 38, Kevan James, 37, and John Stephenson, 33.

Hampshire's 40-over total of 183 for nine on a lush outfield owed much to two experienced batsmen, with Robin Smith's concentration and Adrian Aymes's rustic slog so important.

Sussex, last year's bottom county, needed Chris Adams or Michael Bevan, or both, to make runs. Neither did.

Nixon McLean, Hampshire's West Indies fast-bowler, delivered a broadside of Caribbean-length rubbish that was duly dispatched, but the picture changed when James came on, wobbling his left-armers bewilderingly at times in an icy breeze.

James penetrated Michael Bevan's crooked drive to bowl the Australian for a duck, Hartley had Adams caught behind for 14 and Stephenson nagged away to squash all hope of a recovery.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 04 May1998 - 10:21