If Hampshire skittle out Sussex when the neighbouring counties resume t20 hostilities tonight – or vice-versa – it’ll come as no surprise to Danny Briggs or Scott Styris.
For they’ve already played out a little curtain-raiser to the derbies that will be pivotal to the outcome of the south group in a pub skittle alley.
The Hampshire Royals and England spinner and Sussex’s star New Zealander did battle in The Barley Mow at Walderton on the Hampshire-Sussex border.
It was a bit of fun in the lead-up to tonight’s Hove clash between the old rivals, which is followed by the Ageas Bowl return a week later.
Briggs will be hoping the outcome is an accurate form guide – for he took the bragging rights in a bowl-off after the pair had played out a thrilling tie.
The spin sensation, from the Isle of Wight, conceded the game hadn’t taught him much ahead of his cricketing battle with Styris.
But Briggs joked he may take up skittles when he retires from cricket.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old is looking forward to taking on Sussex.
He will be hoping for a repeat of his spell of four for 17 in Hampshire’s 112-run victory stroll at Hove two years ago.
The Royals will certainly fancy their chances again this year.
They’ve had one t20 win and one no-result so far, while Sussex have narrowly lost two out of three – both defeats to Surrey.
Briggs said: ‘The t20 games against Sussex are always tough. They’re a good t20 and one-day side.
‘But if we play well, we have a chance.
‘There’s a lot of rivalry and the fans enjoy it. We get good crowds at both grounds.’
Briggs is in his fourth season as a regular in the Royals t20 side but still savours the chance to share an arena with stars like Styris.
He added: ‘You can look up to and learn from players like him.
‘It’s great to compete and compare yourself with the best players and test yourself.’
The Royals saw off Yorkshire in dramatic fashion to lift the trophy last season. That came after Sussex fell at the semi-final stage.
But Styris, in his second t20 campaign with the Sharks, is a highly-dangerous player.
He made t20 headlines last season with a 37-ball ton to demolish Gloucestershire at Hove.
And Hampshire will have to guard against his quality as they aim for a second win in the group stage.