Eastbourne skipper backs Sussex starlet Orr to go on shining

Eastbourne skipper Jacob Smith is backing Ali Orr to go on making rapid progress in his cricket career after the 20-year scored a half century on his Sussex first XI debut.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 8:30 am
Ali Orr on his Sussex debut at Headingley / Picture: Getty
Ali Orr on his Sussex debut at Headingley / Picture: Getty

The Eastbourne batsman and former Bede’s School pupil struck 67 in the second innings of the county’s defeat againt Yorkshire at Headingley last weekend.

Orr is one of a growing number of young Sussex-raised players being given a chance in Ian Salisbury’s four-day side – and Smith is delighted.

“It was awesome to see Ali make his debut for Sussex, and to get his maiden 50 too,” said Smith.

“I think everyone at the club was very proud to see him get his chance, alongside Brownie (Ben Brown) and Henry(Crocombe) too.

“That was a nice moment for the club – it’s recognition for the hard work that a lot of volunteers have put in down the years to help those guys make it to where they are now.

“I’m probably not qualified enough to tell you if Ali is going to have a long career in the professional game, but I do know he’ll give everything he’s got to make that happen.

“He absolutely loves cricket. I think his enthusiasm for the game should hold him in good stead.”

Eastbourne could perhaps have done with a few Orr runs themselves last Saturday, when they lost at Cuckfield.

Scott Lenham abnd Ben Twine took two wickets apiece as Cuckfield racked up 296.

Despite 70 from Malcolm Johnson and 42 from Twine in the reply, the men from The Saffrons ended on 258-8.

Smith said: “I didn’t think we played particularly badly.

“We were probably just made to pay for a poor start and some sloppy dropped catches.

“If we’d have taken those chances we wouldn’t have been chasing the best part of 300, more like 230-250, which is what we aiming for.

“I thought we batted nicely too, and we were timing the chase well. Unfortunately when you’re chasing that many you need pretty much everything to go perfectly, and you need someone to get 100 ideally too.

“I’m really pleased to see Malcolm Johnson playing the way he is. He’s had some lean spells since joining us but the past couple of weeks, he’s looked like he’s getting back to his best. I think it’s just the nature of club cricket really which makes the league so competitive. There’s so many different variables like availability, conditions and the weather, that can make for less than predictable cricket.

“I think whoever can be the most consistent will do well, but that is really difficult to do in amateur sport.

“Cuckfield played really well on the day, certainly not like a team that were bottom of the league.”

Eastbourne visit Three Bridges tomorrow and Smith added: “Three Bridges look like a strong unit. They’ve been on a similar journey to us over the last few years. They’ve got a pretty consistent core group of young players who are starting to come of age.”