I know that some prefer the shorter form of cricket to the county game of 4 days but Sussex’s victory over Warwickshire proves that the latter can set up a sporting treat. One of the features of Sussex games at Hove this season is the poor quality of the pitch, so much so that we may well be reported. The pitch produced a low scoring match but this added to the excitement. Warwickshire won the toss and elected to bat on Sunday. Ollie Robinson, a Yorkshire discard who only was selected after injury to new recruits Ajmal Shahzad and Tymal Mills and who scored a maiden century coming in at 11 against Durham, took 6-33 with Warwickshire dismissed for 180. Sussex posted 191 with only Luke Wells scoring significantly with 92. Warwickshire were all out for 200 in their second innings. Matt Hobden, who conceded 11 no balls against Middlesex, tightened up his delivery action and returned 4 wickets. Even though the floodlights were on yesterday and the light seemed alright the decision was made to come off for bad light at 5 pm. Yesterday Sussex needed 190 to win.
In the Players Club I spoke to Tony Cottey who runs it and had served Sussex well after joining from Glamorgan and he doubted on such a pitch that Sussex would make that total. At 43-5 his cynicism seemed justified. However Ben Brown steadied the ship and set it on course for victory with 53 but when Chris Wright dismissed him and Magoffin the scales tipped in the away side’s favour. Cometh the moment, cometh the man and Chris Jordan, relieved from England duty, began to score freely. A simple catch dismissing him at 44 was dropped on the boundary. In what proved the final over one of 3 results was possible: win, defeat or tie. Jordan left nothing in doubt by clouting the first ball of Boyd Tonkin for six. Sussex had won by one wicket.
Many in the Players Club know Peter Moores well as he coached Sussex to their first ever title in 2003 and showed much sympathy for him as the new coach Trevor Bayliss seems to emulate the negatives for which Moores was sacked, a lack of international playing experience resulting in insufficient dressing room cred. Is winning two titles for New South Wales any better than Moores’ record of two at Sussex and Lancashire? Moores as England coach brought on the youngsters like Jordan. Stokes’s superb performance against New Zealand at Lords might deny him a place at Headingley so we will be delighted to see him in our line up against Middlesex in the twenty blast on Friday.
As I left the ground I fell in conversation with a member and we both agreed a difficult pitch made for an entertaining game and we would much rather see a combined total of 800 runs than 500 run innings on a plum square with no prospect of such an captivating ding-dong game and finish.