I am not a cricket fan, I have spent many afternoons listening to the seemingly endless cricket matches my husband watches on the telly. Having said that, I have always fancied watching a live match though. I imagined with a picnic in hand the atmosphere would be very different to the boring stuff on TV. When 1st Central asked me to come to the Sussex Cricket Ground in Hove to watch a game as a family I was excited but also a little sceptical. It’s not easy to entertain a six year old for a few hours in a confined space!
So, this is how we got on
We came to see the Natwest T20 Blast, a game between Sussex Sharks and Kent Spitfires. If you’re a novice like me, then you should know this is actually quite a fast-paced game with only one inning each side. It means that there is a bit more action and actually quite exciting to watch. I was also informed by my husband that there were a few England players amongst the two teams, which he was very excited to see.
The grounds had a brilliant atmosphere. We sat in the dedicated family area which was simply a raised grass bank, so no worrying about kids falling down steps and the like. Right behind us was also the “Famzone” where my son had a go at batting himself in a simulator. Although he asked to have a go, he was very shy when his turn came, so one of the staff simply grabbed him and helped him hit the ball. He really took his time to find out his name and show him exactly how it’s done. He genuinely cared that he had a good time and picked up on him being a little worried straight away. It was great to see the passion to teach the next generation and how confident he made my son feel. When he finished my son gave his new friend a high five and came out beaming!
As well as the batting simulator, there was a balloon artist making balloon animals on request, and free face painting. Most of the kids enjoyed having sharks drawn on their arms. Not my son, he went for the full-face green monster! 🙂
With me not eating gluten, we packed a picnic but we needn’t have worried. There was a great selection of food; a Jamaican Jerk BBQ, Paella (with vegetarian option) and the usual hot dogs, chips and burgers. Of course, you also always need to leave room for ice cream!
What’s the verdict?
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t exactly on our side and it did rain for a while, between the two innings. But I have to say that it really didn’t dampen our spirits. With a fantastic vibe in the grounds, an exciting second innings ending the game in a draw and everyone being so friendly, we really had a fantastic day out. And if it couldn’t get much better, all of the players came back out at the end to sign autographs for their waiting fans!
We were given free tickets in return for this review but I can honestly say that we will be back to do it all again! It was indeed quite easy to keep my six-year-old entertained and it is something a bit different to do with the family this summer. Plus, I have earned some serious brownie points with my husband!
When you go, make sure you get a leaflet or some of the merchandise from the gift shop for the players to sign at the end and also be sure you pick up the free hats and other stuff you get handed at the entrance. Give the team mascot a high-five on his way around during the break and tweet your photo with the #SussexFamily hashtag to see your picture on the big screens!
You can find out all about what’s on and how to book tickets here.
Have you been anywhere lately as a family that took you by surprise? Any recommendations of places to visit that are out of the ordinary? Let us know in the comments below.