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May 19, 2005
Sussex's joy at reaching the third round of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy has been severely tempered by the realization that they will now miss out on a lucrative three-day clash against the touring Australians - a fixture that was expected to have netted them a cool £50,000.
Sussex's four-wicket victory in a low-scoring encounter against Nottinghamshire on Wednesday was greeted with a certain ambivalence by those in the know in Hove. Their reward, if it can be termed as such, is a tricky away fixture against Lancashire at Old Trafford, which will be played on either July 15 or 16.
The honour of hosting the Australians, on the other hand, now passes to Leicestershire, and given that the fixture falls in the week before the first Test, it is expected that something approaching their full-strength XI will take the field for that game. As Robin Marlar, the new Sussex president, told The Guardian, "To make up the money we have lost today we will have to go on and win the trophy."
Sussex have, of course, already hosted one touring side so far this summer, although the challenge that the Bangladeshis posed last week was rather less of a drawcard. Sussex defeated them by an innings and 226 runs inside three days, and given that entry to the ground was free, they could only rely on sales of lunchtime lasagne to boost their coffers.
There would have been no love lost between Sussex and the Australians either. During Sussex's recent match against Hampshire, Chris Adams and Matt Prior were involved in an unseemly war of words with Shane Warne, and all three would have relished the renewal of hostilities. As it is, the Australians will now warm up in Grace Road, against a less alluring attack that includes the likes of Charl Willoughby, Ottis Gibson, Phil DeFreitas and Claude Henderson.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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