Hove, Arundel, Eastbourne and Horsham.
Hove in 1978, a small number of mainly seniors watching a slow moving game; no future in that they said. Championship cricket in 2023: some deckchairs still, the tree alas gone, hospitality cabins and the Sharks stand in view at the other end. The PA referred to the stadium, that way in some corners maybe although to this visitor it feels more like a ground still.
Arundel, timeless, beautiful with its easy aristocratic charm. Southern Vipers v Thunder below in a September heatwave, and for spectators a hose-pipe refilling water containers, which personally was a first. The last trip I made was for a T20 match in 2007, although its ambience if not everything else, feels more suited to the long(er) forms of the game.
Eastbourne, Sussex returned here before covid after an extended gap with three ODC games. Twinned in a rather particular way with St Helen’s Swansea, two grounds where records were made during the era of dominant WI cricketers; bats different but not the biggest of boundaries either. In 2023, essentially, if not entirely, club cricket.
Horsham, as second XI games go a well-supported T20 fixture v Hants, one of three played here this summer. As with Arundel, and Eastbourne for watchers very little changed over the decades, bar an electronic scoreboard. Why would it have done?
Upgraded facilities, hospitality important at the centre, outgrounds used less and no more is a common denominator with other counties. Yet with increased ECB monies from The 100 and the ‘development’ ODC played in August this direction of (non) travel could change, at least to an extent. Question is, will it?