Sussex head to Kent looking to make amends

Mark Davis
Mark Davis

Sussex go to Tunbridge Wells on Friday nursing painful memories of the previous meeting with Kent at Hove last month.

With a number of players injured and out of form, Sussex were roundly outplayed in their opening match of the season and beaten by 226 runs; they are in the mood to make amends this weekend.

Sussex were one of the pre-season favourites for promotion from the second division of the Specsavers County Championship but bad defeats by Kent, and then by Notts at Trent Bridge, jolted expectations.

However, their overpowering of Durham, by an innings and 177 runs this week, has put them in the mood to seek a measure of revenge against Kent.

Coach Mark Davis says: “Kent are at the top of the table with Notts and Worcestershire and we’re looking to take teams down who are above us. It would feel like a double win, and if we play to our potential we can put them under real pressure.

“There are lots of good teams in the second division, who wouldn’t be out of place in the first division. Imran Tahir goes to Derby at the back end of the year. So lots of things can change. Notts have started particularly well, and so have Kent. Lots of teams can beat each other.

“Everybody wants to be a first division club and we’re a proud club with a proud history. We want to be there too.”

Before the Durham game Davis set his team a target to win four out of six games. “That means we still want three wins out of the next five going into the Kent game. That would put us in a position to challenge at the very top of the division. If we keep our players fit we can beat anyone.

“We also badly want to turn around that result against Kent at the start of the season. Tunbridge Wells is It’s a tough place to get a result. We got a great draw there last year but this time we are going for the win.

“We went there at the back end of last season. It was very dry and it spun. It was a bit of a seamers’ graveyard Traditionally it does seam a bit there early doors, so we will take a look at it.”

Astonishingly, Sussex are considering reinforcing a pace attack which against Durham was made up by Vernon Philander, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan and David Wiese.

Steve Magoffin, who has led the attack with so much success in recent years, is fit again after a knee injury and could replace the all-rounder Wiese.

“Steve was just not right for the Durham game but he played for the second team and got through 20 overs,” says Davis. “He was at Hove bowling again on Wednesday. He will bowl again on Thursday and we will assess him for Tunbridge Wells.”

Ben Brown (broken finger), Matt Machan (wrist) and Ollie Robinson (sore shins) will all miss the Kent game.

The performance of Philander over the next few days will be of special interest. Sussex and Kent are two of the five counties he has played for. He had match figures of six for 99 against Durham but says he is still not at his best. He said: "It was my first game back after injury - I've been back home doing a lot of rehab. Hopefully I can keep improving as I go along; its about keeping improving game-on-game. Its only my first game back so I'd like to see myself getting better

“It's not a pace issue its about getting through my action on a regular basis and just to bowl more overs. The more you bowl, the better you get. The way the boys have been bowling is pretty good. We're a wonderful attack.”