There has been much excitement around George Garton and his superb ability for sometime now, but the summer of 2020 was when the 23-year-old really announced himself to the cricketing world.
Garton has been shortlisted in all three of our End of Season Awards, and that is no surprise. Across both formats played this year, he led from the front with the ball and impressed with the bat and in the field, too.
In the much-anticipated opening match of the season, Garton took three wickets in the win over Hampshire, and scored a third-successive fifty after two half-centuries at the end of the 2019 season.
Garton’s prowess with the bat against Hampshire gained more publicity than his fearsome fast-bowling, but that certainly wasn’t the case a week later in our second home match of the year.
Against eventual champions Essex, Garton took his maiden first-class five-fer and ended the match with overall figures of 9-76.
His victims included Sir Alastair Cook – twice – Daniel Lawrence – twice, and his five-wicket haul Sussex within a whisker of victory against the best county side in the country.
After his 12 wickets in the Bob Willis Trophy, it was then time for Garton to show his ability in the shorter format of the game.
Garton took a wicket in the opening match of the tournament, against rivals Hampshire, and then again showed his talent with the bat to score 19 against Middlesex and put on a vital 63-run partnership with David Wiese.
Garton also took two impressive catches in that match at Lord’s, but his figures of 2-31 against Kent Spitfires couldn’t prevent an agonising defeat two days later.
The Sharks bounced back from that defeat to beat Hampshire and then get revenge over the Spitfires, before Garton saved his best performances in the Blast for the latter stages.
With a win required over Middlesex at Hove in his side’s penultimate group match, Garton was on fire with the ball, taking 4-27, and then launched 24 off nine balls to secure a three-wicket win.
When the young all-rounder came to the crease against the Londoners, the Sharks looked doomed to defeat with 35 needed off the final three overs – but Garton had other ideas.
He smashed 23 off Steven Finn during the penultimate over, with three sixes and a four, to keep his side in the tournament – and then replicated his heroics at Chelmsford two days later.
The win over Essex Eagles secured the Sharks their quarter-final spot, and it was again Garton’s fast start with the ball which got Luke Wright’s men up and running.
The first over was a double-wicket maiden, and he eventually finished with another four-fer – this time taking figures of 4-21. In reply, the Sharks were chasing 136 and Garton was again required with the bat.
Alongside Calum MacLeod, Garton had to play a very different innings to the one against Middlesex, but it was just as important. His 34 off 30 balls got the Sussex over the line and set up a quarter-final clash against Lancashire Lightning.
Garton took three more wickets against the Red Rose to finish the Blast as our leading wicket-taker with 14 dismissals at an average of 16.50, while his 12 wickets in the Bob Willis Trophy came at an average of 23.50.
His season total of 210 runs was also impressive, and highlighted Garton’s incredible summer with bat and ball.