Sussex cricket set for Saffrons return in 2017

Gentlemens agreement: Ian Fletcher-Price , the Eastbourne cricket chairman, shakes hands with ZacToumazi, the Sussex Cricket chief executive, at the Saffrons last Friday with Keith Greenfield director cricket at Sussex County Cricket (left) and Ian Poysden, managing director of IEP Financial,

Gentlemens agreement: Ian Fletcher-Price , the Eastbourne cricket chairman, shakes hands with ZacToumazi, the Sussex Cricket chief executive, at the Saffrons last Friday with Keith Greenfield director cricket at Sussex County Cricket (left) and Ian Poysden, managing director of IEP Financial,

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Eastbourne’s 17-year-long wait to bring first-class cricket back to the Saffrons looks set to be over.

Sussex County Cricket Club are expected to compete in a 50 over contest at the Saffrons in May 2017.

Sussex chief executive Zac Toumazi was a guest at the sold-out Lashings cricket event in Eastbourne last Friday. He said, “The main thing when considering something like this is that it has to be viable and everything seems in place here (Eastbourne).

“The club have expressed their desire for us to return and the appetite is there. There are many factors to consider but the fact that the council is firmly behind it and supportive is massive for us.

“The council, the club and the tenacity of the chairman (Ian Fletcher-Price) have all come together and made it possible.”

Zac added, “Sussex, as a club, we want to take cricket to all parts of the county. It always has be viable and we feel this is. Everything is in place and now it just needs to be agreed by the board, which it should happen.”

The exact date of the match cannot be confirmed until the ECB announce next season’s fixtures in October. There is expected to be new scheduling in 2017 and all the 50 over matches are likely to take place in the early part of the season - which makes the May date look more likely.

Eastbourne Cricket Club chairman Ian Fletcher-Price added, “This is great news for the club and it’s great news for the town. We have received fantastic corporate support with the events such as the Lashings and we are confident they will also embrace the return of first class cricket.

“David Tutt (town councillor) has been extremely supportive all the way through the process. The work with the council, the work on our wicket and the work to host events like the Lashings has been key.

“The appetite for cricket in the town is here and you can see that with the Lashings. Having Sussex at the Saffrons will be a great opportunity for young players and help inspire them into cricket.

“I said all along it had to be right for us and it had to right for Sussex and I think that it is.”