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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Sussex cap 'fantastic year'
CHAMPIONS AT LAST
Sussex celebrate their first ever championship victory
They've all stood up and done it when it counted
Peter Moores
Sussex director of cricket Peter Moores was overcome with elation after his team secured their first ever championship title at Hove on Thursday.

Sussex put themselves out of reach of nearest pursuers Lancashire by earning three batting points against Leicestershire.

"It's been a fantastic year," Moores said.

"We were writing down some of the outstanding performances the other day and there were too many to list.

"Mushtaq Ahmed has had a fantastic year with his 100 wickets, but the batters have played brilliantly.

"We've had an average first-innings score of about 440-450 this season which is outstanding.

"The bowlers have done well, also. James Kirtley missed the last few games but he took 49 wickets in 11 games, which was outstanding.

"The youngsters have come through, also."

Chris Adams said landing the title was the highlight of his career.

"This is the biggest day of my cricket career," he said.

"I was lucky enough to play for England, which was very special. But the stress we have gone through over the past two or three weeks makes this something else.

James Kirtley
It has not just been a year's work, it's been years and years
Sussex paceman James Kirtley

"It has been a long journey over the past six years, and we have worked very hard for it.

"A lot of the core membership have been coming for years. We have given them lots of great times before, but I am sure every one of them will remember this day and treasure it forever."

England paceman Kirtley, who was sitting out of the game with shin splints, was suitably jubilant.

"Words do not describe it but the expressions and the emotions that have been shown certainly do," Kirtley said.

"People have had huge ambitions at this club and to secure it today is a very special day for Sussex."

Kirtley paid tribute to Moores and skipper Adams for instilling a steely determination into the squad.

"Peter has brought ambition to this club, and the will and desire to improve.

"I've never met a bigger winner in my life than Chris Adams, someone who always wants to win. His drive is something that we've all followed as a side.

"Full credit goes to them for managing the side for the past six years. They are hugely responsible for the success we've had."

Much credit has been given to the influence of Mushtaq Ahmed, the Pakistani leg-spinner who became the first player since 1998 to take 100 wickets in a county season.

Test Match Special commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins, father of Sussex all-rounder Robin, believes Mushtaq was the pivotal player in 2003.

"Obviously Mushtaq Ahmed is the one who has made the difference," Martin-Jenkins said.

"But I really think it has been coming for some time and I think Peter Moores is a very good coach in the modern idiom.

"They've been doing all the right things to succeed in the modern game.

"They've got a very good team spirit and Chris Adams leads them very well."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Sussex's Murray Goodwin
"I told the guys it would be fantastic to hit the winning runs"


Former Sussex chief exec Tony Pigott
"It's a great achievement, what we've worked for over the last six years"



SUSSEX



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