1963 Gillette Cup Final
The first ever limited-overs final
The first ever limited-overs final was something of a carnival atmosphere as Sussex faced Worcestershire on a dull day in early September 1963. The majority of the 25,000 crowd had been brought to Lord’s by coaches and there was a feeling that the day would be a piece of history. Little did they know how one-day cricket would in not too many years become the dominant form of the game.
In the early rounds of the Gillette Cup, Worcestershire had overcome Surrey and Glamorgan, and then their fast bowler Jack Flavell (who had once taken nine wickets against Sussex) had single-handedly beaten Lancashire with his six for 14. In Sussex’s first game against Kent, at Tunbridge Wells, Ken Suttle had scored 104. In the second round Yorkshire had been beaten with Jim Parks scoring 90, and in the semi-final against Northants Ted Dexter scored 115 in a partnership of 160 in 95 minutes with Jim Parks.
A very even game
In the final, Ted Dexter won the toss in what was predicted to be a close game between two evenly matched sides. On a soft pitch Sussex’s free-scoring batsmen failed to make the progress expected by their supporters. Dexter was dismissed for just three, bringing forth loud cheers from the Worcestershire supporters. The slow bowlers Gifford and Slade dominated the batting, and only Parks, with 57, was able to stay at the crease for any length of time to ensure that Sussex reached 168.
The dull weather persisted throughout the day and although Worcestershire needed only 2.5 runs an over to win, it was going to be a close game. Buss trapped the Worcestershire captain Kenyon for lbw early on and although Horton, Headley and Graveney managed to get in to the 20s, no-one was able to dominate the bowling. All of Sussex’s bowlers took wickets, which tumbled at regular intervals. With the 21-year-old John Snow taking three quick wickets, the onus was on Worcestershire to win the game. The wicketkeeper Roy Booth and the last man Bob Carter put on 21 runs, and were just 14 runs short of the Sussex target when Carter was run out in the murky gloom. Ted Dexter received the Gillette Cup from the MCC President Lord Nugent in front of the pavilion with the Sussex supporters singing themselves hoarse with ‘Sussex by the Sea’. The Man of the Match award though went to Norman Gifford for taking four wickets for 33. Sussex had a well-balanced team and a captain who understood that over sixty-five overs, a team needed to build an innings and that defensive fields had a part to play in one-day competitions. Over the next few years Sussex would gain a reputation as the one-day specialists, winning the following year and 1978, and finishing as runners-up in 1968, 1970 and 1973.