Chairman ‘Fletch’ determined to bring first-class cricket to Eastbourne after 14-year absence

Ian Fletcher Price
Ian Fletcher Price

Eastbourne Cricket Club remain hopeful they can bring first class cricket back to the Saffrons - perhaps even as early as next season.

Eastbourne were given a brief taste of County Cricket once again this week as Sussex second XI hosted Hampshire second XI on the Saffrons wicket.

In a rain affected three day match, Sussex won by 119 runs. Eastbourne and England under-19 player Callum Jackson scored 88 not out and kept wicket in a line-up that also included Rory Hamilton-Brown, Will Beer, Chris Liddle and Harry Finch.

Eastbourne chairman Ian Fletcher-Price was pleased to welcome the seconds but remains determined to bring the Sussex first team back to Eastbourne for the first time since 2000.

“It would be great for the club, great for cricket fans and great for the town on the whole. It has been more than a decade since Sussex came here last and the club is ready for it once again. We are back in the Premier League and thanks to our groundsman Jamie Ramsden, the wicket is the best it has ever been.

“If Sussex want to bring cricket to the east of the county then we want to be the club to welcome them.

“With the Lashings events we have shown we can put on a show. We have the support of the cricket fans and also the corporate support.

“For the Lashings we have 400 corporate tables that are booked and I see know reason why they would not show the same support for county cricket.

“I am in regular contact with Tony Cottey (Business Relationship Manager at Sussex County Cricket Club) and we will welcome continued dialogue with them.

“But as I have said before, everything would have to right for all parties. We would not agree to anything that would be financially detrimental to the club.”

Fletcher-Price added, “It would be of huge benefit to the town financially.

“It would bring people into the town and help tourism. To that end it would be great for the council to get involved and for them to throw their behind it. What I’m saying is let’s all talk, let’s get together and make this thing happen.”

Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said, “It would be terrific to see Sussex County Cricket Club return to Eastbourne. Like many I recall seeing stars such as Tony Grieg and Imran Khan in their pomp playing at The Saffrons.

“Jumping forward to the present day I know that there is real determination at Eastbourne Cricket Club to bring the likes of Luke Wright and Matt Prior to the town.

“Eastbourne boasts a superb calendar of events, including top class sport, and the council will certainly support any sustainable plans to once again host Sussex County Cricket Club at The Saffrons.”

Zac Toumazi, Chief Executive at Sussex County Cricket Club, added “I would be very happy to consider a proposal from Eastbourne Cricket Club about hosting first class cricket.

“The key to returning to The Saffrons is seeing a business case from Eastbourne that confirms how the facilities will achieve the required standards, how the logistics will be planned and having a viable finance model in place.

“I know that many people in Eastbourne will remember watching countless cricketing legends from the past grace The Saffrons during the annual cricket week.

“I am supportive of that happening again if all the key constituents are in place.”

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