Sussex still hopeful of staging matches at Horsham

The Argus: Denne Hill forms an impressive backdrop to this Sussex Sharks match at Horsham Denne Hill forms an impressive backdrop to this Sussex Sharks match at Horsham

Sussex chief executive Zac Toumazi is “hopeful” the Horsham Festival will go ahead this season after an encouraging response to his plea for sponsorship.

Toumazi revealed the popular festival at Cricketfield Road was under threat unless local businesses came forward with £15,000 to make it financially viable by the end of next week.

Sussex are keen to preserve cricket at Horsham, which has staged games since 1908, but could still switch the Championship match against Warwickshire and One-Day Cup clash with Nottinghamshire in July to Hove unless further sponsorship is forthcoming.

Toumazi said: “There is no question that going public with the fact we could lose such a popular festival has stimulated a lot of interest and the number of businesses coming forward to offer their support makes me hopeful it can be saved.

“It is an important for us to take cricket to outgrounds like Horsham and Arundel but on the back of poor financial results from last year we cannot ignore the cost of staging games away from Hove.

“We are not there in terms of attracting full sponsorship yet but we are definitely a lot closer and things are moving in the right direction. I would say we are nearly 50% of the way towards raising the money we need.

“We will continue to work extremely hard to raise the other 50% over the next eight days or so and I am hopeful that by the end of next week we will be there or thereabouts so we can confirm the festival will go ahead.

“We have had to set a deadline for the end of next week so we can go ahead with hiring third party service providers and also get on with promoting the event but I would like to think we will be close to hitting our target going by the response we’ve had so far.”

The logistics of staging the Horsham Festival this year have been complicated further by a shake-up of the domestic fixture list.

Previously the festival has usually been staged in May with a County Championship game played from Wednesday to Saturday and a 40-over match on Sunday.

That is no longer possible with the Championship game against Warwickshire running from Monday to Thursday with the one-day game against Nottinghamshire on Sunday.

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