Sussex coach gives players week off as county mourns the death of Matt Hobden

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Sussex coach Mark Davis has given his players the week off as the county comes to terms with the death of Matt Hobden.

The 22-year-old bowler was found dead in Scotland on Saturday, with the cause so far unexplained but not suspicious.

The tragedy has curtailed a promising career, one which was set to take in England's Performance Programme in South Africa later this month.

Hobden's passing has been felt most at his county, with Davis - just two months into the job but who coached Hobden at second team level - encouraging his players to stick together.

"I've given the boys a week away to make sure they can gather their thoughts and be around their loved ones, process what's happened and reflect a little bit as well," he told the Guardian.

"We all met on Sunday morning, after we got the awful news, just to get everyone together.

"Everyone will grieve in different ways but it was good to support each other. We need to stay strong to get through this tough time."

The England and Wales Cricket Board's fast bowling coach, Kevin Shine, had earmarked Hobden for big things and Davis had shared that view.

He added: "First of all, he was a lovely person.

"He was a gentle, nice, well-mannered young lad who was very much the heart and soul of the dressing room.

"He had a lovely sense of humour and was great fun to be around. But everyone knew he had great potential as a cricketer. He had all the attributes to be a top-class fast bowler.

"He was a fantastic athlete, very strong, very powerful. He had a hell of an arm.

"He was a fantastic fielder. He moved particularly well. And he could bowl quick.

"You can't really coach anyone to bowl quick. He was potentially a very fine cricketer."

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