By Neil Fissler
Tony Pigott believes that Sussex did not get the credit that they deserved as a one-day side because they under-achieved.
Lancashire and Kent are renowned as the best one-day sides during the Seventies and Eighties but Pigott says that Sussex were not far behind.
Part of the reason could be that they could only won a NatWest Trophy and a Sunday League title when they were at their height.
Pigott who was educated at Harrow School doesn’t pull any punches when asked why they were under-achievers
He said: “Lancashire and Kent were always credited with being the two successful one-day sides but we were very close to them. We were very good.
“We were a much better side than the two trophies that we won suggested. I totally agree we under-achieved big time.
“Why was that? When I became chief executive I wanted to change the ‘Southern softy’ mentality and we did have that mentality.
“We had a lot of talent but when it came to the crunch we couldn’t perform in big games. We had a good time but the John Player League win in 1982 proved what we could do.
“We won 14 out of 16 with another rained off. But we were very up and down and under-achieved a lot. Cricket is very much a form game and in 1986 we went on a roll and didn’t look like losing.
“It had been the same in 1982.”
Sussex saw off Suffolk (108) by seven wickets on their way to their fourth Gillette Cup/NatWest Trophy and then claimed a 29-run win over Glamorgan (240).
They hammered Yorkshire (125) by 88 runs in the quarter-final over two days at Headingley before a helicopter was needed to dry the outfield to play a semi-final at Worcester.
When the game eventually got under way the home side were dismissed for 125 and Sussex knocked off the required runs to win by five wickets.
In the final at Lord’s, Lancashire clocked up 242-8, which Sussex knocked off with eight balls to spare, thanks to 85 from Paul Parker.
Pigott said: “We were a very good one-day side that year with Imran Khan and Garth le Roux but just look at the Lancashire team and us on paper.
“They had Clive Lloyd at the end of his career but we were favourites to win that game because Lancashire weren’t very good at that time.
“Patrick Patterson didn’t play because they picked Clive, and that was a real sympathy vote. Patrick was in his pomp as a fearsome West Indian fast bowler at the time.
“And Lancashire didn’t have a real strong bowling attack. Paul Allot was pretty ordinary so we were very happy not to see Patterson play.
“Clive survived a big appeal first ball, he was very close to being LBW. I think the umpire Ken Palmer almost felt sorry for him and I think fourth ball he was plumb.
“We were cruising throughout the final and won incredibly easily. Rehan Alikhan was out quite early on but that was no great loss. He was a weak spot.
“After that Paul Parker went after them and Allan Green batted very well and we were never in any danger.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Neil Lenham: Opening batsman whose father Les was a Sussex stalwart. He worked on the club’s commercial operation and is now managing director of equipment firm Newbery.
Andew Bredin: Left-arm spinner who has spent the last 28 years as managing director of the staffing and recruitment firm Hays after starting as a senior consultant in 1988.
David Standing: Right-handed batsman lives in Newbury, Berkshire, and is a successful businessman in the information technology and services sector.
Allan Green: All-rounder who now lives in Worthing, Sussex, and has worked in human resources for Legal and General in Hove.
MIDDLE ROW (left-right):
Pat Cale: A teacher at St Christopher’s School in Hove prior to joining the Sussex staff as a coach.
Ian Waring: Seamer who became the Sussex youth development officer and is now the operations and facilities manager at the county ground.
Adrian Jones: Paceman who also served Somerset. Has spent the last 14 years as the owner of Solus, an independent corporate office supplier.
Dermot Reeve: Former England all-rounder has worked in the media, owned a memorabilia business and has coached in New Zealand and India.
Peter Moores: Wicketkeeper who went into coaching and has twice coached England, He is currently a coaching consultant with Notts until the end of the season.
Alan Wells: Batsman who played one Test for England. He ran a bed and breakfast but is now director of cricket and house tutor at St Bede’s School in Sussex.
Stewart Storey: All-rounder who later coached his former county Surrey as well as Sussex. Worked for BMW before retiring to Cornwall but is now living in Steyning, West Sussex.
FRONT ROW (left-right):
Paul Parker: One-Test England batsman who was selected to win a Cambridge Blue in rugby but withdrew through injury. Teaches classics and modern languages at Tonbridge School.
Tony Pigott: Paceman, who like Alan Wells and Parker played one England Test, was Sussex’s chief executive and is now an ECB pitch liaison officer. Also sales and marketing director of the Turf Club.
Colin Wells: All-rounder – and brother of Alan – who played in two ODIs for England. He is now director of cricket at the British school, Al Khubairat, in the UAE.
John Barclay: Opening bat who made his debut aged 16 while still at Eton. Runs Arundel Castle Cricket Federation and undertakes speaking engagements.
Ian Gould: Wicketkeeper who played ODI cricket for England. Went into coaching at Middlesex and is now on the ICC’s panel of elite umpires.
Paul Phillipson: Pace bowler who was a teacher at Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town but has been coaching manager for the Western Province Cricket Association for 20 years.
Garth le Roux: South African fast bowler who became a successful businessman with interests in a property company.
Rehan Alikhan: London-born batsman who is now living in Western Australia and is a senior medical hair consultant with Martinick Hair Restoration.
Imran Khan: Star Pakistan all-rounder who went into politics after founding the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and has worked in the media in both Britain and Pakistan.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper on Friday July 31, 2015