New manager optimistic over Horsham's cricketing summer
Greatly encouraged by the announcement of the easing of Covid restrictions beckoning the restoration of outdoor sport, Horsham Cricket Club are steaming ahead with plans to ensure that, after last year’s severely truncated fixtures, the 2021 season will be a full one.
They hope for plenty of entertaining league and cup games on both grounds at Cricketfield Road.
In a popular move, Ben Williams has been appointed Cricket Manager and he tells the County Times: “At last we can start some real planning and all I will be seeking to do is to get the club to perform to the highest level possible, and, especially, to see all of our players, male and female, enjoying their cricket.
“I want to bind all of our talent together to integrate the colts and adults with a good club feel, and if that happens then the club will blossom.”
Horsham are in division two of the Sussex League and Williams added: “It’s no secret that the club wants to be playing Premier League cricket again, so we’re on a bit of a rebuild project.
“However there’s a great set of lads here from first to third XI, including a number of talented youngsters coming through the ranks.
“With regular turnouts of 25-plus at training last season and a good club vibe, we can get things going in the right direction.
“The return of Chris Nash is fantastic news.
“This is his family club, where he earned his spurs going on to play for Sussex. His experience and cricket knowledge will be a huge asset for everyone.
“The other players are relishing the opportunity to play with Chris alongside our home grown Sussex pros, Will Beer, Tom Clark and Tom Haines.
“It’s a huge credit to all of them, wanting to stay with the club after the drop to division two: it shows their loyalty and what they’re about.
“There’s a couple more signings in the pipeline including some returning players, which is always a great sign.
“Outdoor sport can resume from March 29, so we’ll be looking to start outside practice as quickly as possible after that, and there’s a busy start to our season.
“We’ve got two cracking home friendlies – against Middleton on April 17 and Haywards Heath on 24. Then on May 1 we’re away in the Sussex T20 Cup versus Billingshurst or Broadwater, before we begin our league programme, at home on May 8 with Lindfield visiting. Bring it on!”
Horsham’s Chris “Shaka” Shambrook is delighted to report there has been an excellent take up rate of entries into the Mirfield and Gullick Cups – the district’s evening knockout competitions.
Since the late 1950s the Mirfield has provided great local entertainment, with the Gullick being introduced in the early 70s as a plate competition.
Shambrook said: “It’s great that we’ve been able to continue the tradition of these two excellent competitions.
“Horsham Cricket Club will be the venue for several Gullick sides and we’re really looking forward to hosting the finals of both cups again, when the cricket will be competitive, played in the right spirit and with plenty of boisterous support and banter.
“As with all sports clubs, the last year has been a real challenge and we can’t wait to reopen.
“When we were allowed to do so in 2020, we set up a beer garden in front of the pavilion in conjunction with our outdoor catering facility, and that proved very popular, with a great atmosphere, so we’ll be doing that again - but even bigger and better.
“We’re keen to see the club busy once more with a full programme of fixtures, and are counting down the days to reopening.”