ESTABLISHED 1946

 

SUSSEX

By BRUCE TALBOT


Email Bruce at: bruce.talbot@btinternet.com

HOVE


DIRECTIONS: (Satnav - BN3 3AN) Pick up the A27 westbound at the bottom of the A23 on the outskirts of Brighton. Take the first exit (signposted Hove) and pick up the yellow AA direction signs on the second exit signposted for Hove on Dyke Road. The ground is approx 2 miles from here. Public transport from station - Trains from London Victoria on the Sussex coast line stop at Hove. The ground is ten minutes walk from the station. Turn right out of the station entrance and follow the road round. At the junction turn right into The Drive. Walk towards the sea to the traffic lights and turn left into Eaton Road. Ground is approx 200 yards on your left.

CAR PARKING: Best to ring the club's helpful media man Adam Matthews (07717 347773) to book a place, particularly for big matches such as Twenty20. Sam on the gate will always try and squeeze in polite reporters - he has even been known to park journalists' vehicles for them. On Championship days you can normally park behind the South Stand by showing your ECB pass but if you are leaving your car overnight at the ground make sure you get a visitors' pass from Adam as there are paid-for parking bays at the ground now and you will get a ticket.

FACILITIES: The media centre at the Sea End is named after the doyen of the Hove press corps, the late Jack Arlidge and also honours Christopher Martin-Jenkins. There are separate areas for TV, radio and written media with a kitchen where you can make a hot drink. Hot or cold lunch is provided by the club and there is usually a decent cake at tea as well so you won't starve.

There is always a friendly welcome for working journalists. Ask for Bruce Talbot (PA) if you need any assistance and the club's press officer Adam Matthews is always around to help as well as provide free updates on his beloved Kidderminster Harriers. 

If you want good coffee Café Pasticcio on the ground at the back of the South West Stand is recommended. They also do pizza and other goodies and although it's a bit pricey the quality is excellent. The view on top of the South Stand is superb if you want to get an even better view of what's going on in the middle. It's a flight of stairs up from the press box, accessed by a security door. Adam will give you the key code. 

Local boozers - Right outside the main gates, The Sussex Cricketer (whose freehold is owned by the club) is the traditional lunchtime and post-play watering hole for journalists, players and umpires (after play only of course). There are loads of good pubs in Brighton and Hove. Paul Weaver of the Guardian is a frequent visitor to the press box (and many of the local hostelries) and can offer plenty of recommendations.

ACCOMMODATION: Outside London, Brighton has one of the biggest concentrations of hotels, guest houses and B&Bs in the country so take your pick - the choice is endless. Most of the seafront 'chain' hotels get pretty good reports and all have gyms and swimming pools. You can normally negotiate a rate if you are staying for more than one night as you might anywhere else. The nearest hotel to the ground is The Courtlands in Third Avenue. It's clean and comfortable, has its own small(ish) pool and is a five-minute stroll from the ground. Smaller boutique hotels are popular and the budget hotels, if booked in advance, are all within easy reach. If all else fails, there is plenty of room at the back of the press box. Of course a long jog along the seafront beats any hotel tread mill, just ask David Hopps.

If you want to base yourself away from Brighton, numerous villages in the South Downs or along the coast are an option. Again, the choice is pretty endless.

LEISURE: The same applies to entertainment and food. There are restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets on nearby Church Road - the main drag in Hove itself - while a short hop on the bus or a cab will get you into Brighton and the Laines, seafront and as many restaurants, pubs, cinemas and bars you could shake a stump at. Take your pick.


ARUNDEL

Sussex's two regular outgrounds are Horsham and Arundel, but Horsham is off the agenda for 2016 and there's no guarantee when it will return.

At Arundel, there is a press marquee at the Castle End, which is nearest the town and car parking in the field behind. Sussex provide refreshments but beware there is very limited or no wi-fi. Bring a dongle or use your phone. It's best to assume there will be no wifi, although desperate (or unprepared) hacks have been able to hook onto the wifi in the office at the ground. The radio ISDN line is in front of the main score box at the Park End.

 The Norfolk Arms is the main hotel in Arundel, but tends to get booked up quickly. Chichester or Littlehampton are alternative places to base yourself.

A couple of miles away in the tiny hamlet of Houghton is the George and Dragon which offers decent ales, good food and fabulous views across the South Downs. This is where visiting journalists tend to end up on at least one night of the Festival. That or The Black Rabbit next to the Arun but a good two-mile walk from the ground. A lot closer is The Gate which is directly in front of you as you leave (or even arrive) at Arundel Castle. Jason Lewry, the former Sussex left-armer, is usually holding court there on at least one day of the festival.