Homegrown hero Chris Nash says leading Sussex out on the Horsham ground where he first lifted a bat will be one of the proudest moments of his stellar career so far.
Vice captain Nash will skipper the side in the absence of county captain Ed Joyce, away on Ireland duty, for the four-day County Championship game against Somerset as well as the YB40 clash with Kent on the Sunday at Cricketfield Road.
The Horsham Festival of Cricket is always one of the biggest occasions in the town’s sporting calendar, and ahead of the first day on Wednesday (May 22) Nash said: “For me it’s always the highlight of the season and that stems from when I first started playing cricket as a kid there aged seven.
“It’s one of the nicest places to play cricket in the county and as a team we’ve got a really good record there.
“This year will be even more special for me because I’ll be captaining the side with Ed Joyce away with Ireland. When I was a kid playing for Horsham I dreamt about firstly playing for Sussex during festival week, then scoring a century and then captaining the side.
“I achieved the second of those against Derbyshire in 2010, so to lead the team out will be another of my big dreams come true.”
Nash’s stunning 156 three years ago made him one of four centurions in a single innings – the first time all the top four Sussex batsman had reached three figures in a first-class match - and his 294 opening stand with Joyce was also a new best.
And the Horsham crowds have continued to be treated to records since, with the 718 runs scored in Sussex’s CB40 win over Worcestershire in 2011 still a world best for a 40 over game.
Former Tanbridge House and Collyer’s student Nash has been in excellent early season touch in both forms of the game.
He struck 80 in an innings victory over Yorkshire on the opening day of the County Championship at Headingley and hit 95 to guide the side to victory over Northamptonshire in the YB40 last week.
“It’s been a slow start for all the sides because of the weather but I’m really happy with how I’ve been playing,” Nash said.
“I’ve managed to score big even though we’ve only played four or five innings so I feel in good nick going into the matches at Horsham.”
And when he strides out to the crease next week he says two men will be at the forefront of his thoughts.
“Dr Dew helped me and countless others coming through the colts at Horsham and I always think about him when I come back. Last year we also lost Chris Hoskins, and Hotty was a great friend and a big part of my cricket there so I’ll be remembering them on a week they both loved so much.”