Derbyshire vs Sussex - Specsavers County Championship

Wednesday 11th May 2016
Written by Danny Painter

Chesney Hughes continued his fine form to score an unbeaten half-century as Derbyshire and Sussex drew a rain-affected Specsavers County Championship fixture at The 3aaa County Ground.

Hughes’ fourth score of 50 or more of the season ensured that Derbyshire were able to pick up their fourth draw of the season after rain heavily affected the final two days of the fixture.

The visitors had earlier secured a sizable first-innings lead of 277 after declaring on 468-5, after Ed Joyce hit his highest first-class score of 250 and the hosts had been bowled out for 191.

On the warmest day of the year thus far, Sussex took advantage of the new regulation which allows visiting teams to choose to field first without a toss being made. At lunchtime they may have wondered whether they had made the right decision as Derbyshire had battled their way to 73 for one with Hughes being the only victim, unlucky to be caught by the wicket-keeper from a leg-glance.

Within four overs of the restart, however, both the not out batsmen, Billy Godleman and Hamish Rutherford, had fallen with the score now 78 for three. Thereafter it was always a struggle with Shiv Thakor being the only man to put up any sustained resistance. There was brief support from Tony Palladino and Luke Fletcher, but Derbyshire were all out for 191. Luke Hatchett took five wickets for the visitors.

Sussex had twenty-six overs to bat and they seemed to make batting look much more comfortable than it had earlier in the day. They reached the close at 6.47pm with their score on a promising 83 for one, the only wicket having fallen to Thakor.

It was important for Derbyshire to make an early breakthrough on the second morning, but Ed Joyce was dropped off Andy Carter at extra-cover when he had made 47 and the score was 103 for one. Sussex were made to work very hard before lunch as they could only score 70 runs from thirty-two overs, but the runs began to come more easily after the interval. Joyce and Luke Wells remained together for the second session, adding 140 more runs from another thirty-two overs, with both batsmen reaching their centuries.

After four overs of reconnaissance after tea Joyce began a golden spell when he could hardly do wrong: first he hit five fours from successive balls, then he was dropped from a very awkward chance at wide second slip with his score on 170, after which he hit the next twelve balls he faced for a further 41. After this pair had added 310 together for the second wicket, Wells was well caught by Madsen at slip off Wes Durston – he had made 116 from 266 balls with sixteen fours.

Thakor took two more wickets comparatively cheaply, the first of them just in time to earn his team a solitary bowling point, and Durston eventually trapped Joyce after he had recorded a career-best 250 from 327 balls (34 fours and 2 sixes). Despite the threat of severe weather over the next two days, Sussex played the remaining overs of the day with care as they finished on 468 for five, a lead of 277 runs.

On the third morning persistent rain started about half-an-hour before play was due to begin and it soon became clear that there could be no play that day. The umpires duly came to that conclusion shortly after lunch.

The fourth morning was very similar with every prospect of a second successive day with no play possible. But the weather cleared and play was able to start at 2.30pm with a possible fifty-one overs remaining. Hughes and Godleman stayed together until tea, by which time Hughes had reached his fifty from 73 balls (8 fours). Two wickets fell shortly after the tea interval, but Hughes and Wayne Madsen survived until 4.33pm, at which point bad light and rain brought the match to a premature close. At 4.55pm it was agreed that no positive result could be reached so both teams gained five points for the draw.

Derbyshire 191 (68 overs) (SJ Thakor 36*, HD Rutherford 32, BA Godleman 28; LJ Hatchett 5 for 58, SJ Magoffin 2 for 35, SG Whittingham 2 for 38) and 92 for 2 (26.3 overs) (CF Hughes 58*)

Sussex 468 for 5 dec (122 overs) (EJ Joyce 250, LWP Wells 116, CD Nash 37, B Brown22*; SJ Thakor 3 for 59, WJ Durston 2 for 106)

Match Drawn (Derbyshire 6 points, Sussex 13)

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