Ed Joyce and Luke Wells both hit centuries as Sussex claimed victory by 10 wickets in the Specsavers County Championship fixture at Hove.
When the Captains went out for the toss there was a very light rain, so light that they agreed to make the toss. Derbyshire turned down the chance to bowl first, and when Sussex won the toss and chose to field first.
The rain thickened and became a quite dramatic thunderstorm. Play was eventually able to begin at 4pm with forty overs remaining. Chesney Hughes fell to the second ball of the innings, caught at slip, and the majority of Derbyshire’s top and middle order were dismissed after an all-too-short period of resistance.
Shiv Thakor and Tom Taylor played as well as anyone as they added forty-four for the eighth wicket in eight overs, but two wickets in the penultimate over of the day rather took away the hope that this might be the beginning of a recovery of sorts.
It was past 7pm when play finished on the first day with Thakor on 44 not out including two sixes out of his team’s 142-9. Sussex duly took the last wicket in the fourth over on the second morning, leaving themselves a possible 90 overs to bat in what seemed like perfect batting conditions – a firm, dry pitch and clear skies above. After 25 overs at lunch their openers were still there with the Sussex score on 91-0.
The underused Wayne Madsen started a very steady spell of containing off-breaks after the interval – 12 overs for 31 runs including the wicket of Nash. Joyce and Wells added a further 135 for the second wicket and they both completed centuries just as they had three weeks earlier in the match at Derby. Madsen dismissed Joyce when he misjudged an attempted sweep, but Ross Taylor hit strongly to make fifty from 53 balls.
Tom Taylor managed to find the edge of Taylor’s bat in the eighty-fourth over, after which Sussex played the last six overs playing for the next day. Machan managed to spoon the very last ball of the day to extra-cover so Sussex finished on 342-4 with a lead of 192 with two days’ play to go.
Sussex made the most of their situation despite the early loss of Wells to the third ball of the morning. Their captain, Ben Brown, in particular pressed on and he was able to declare after his team had added 105 in 82 minutes. Derbyshire were required to bat for seven overs before lunch which Godleman and Hughes survived while adding twelve runs.
Despite determined resistance Derbyshire lost wickets at regular intervals to the Sussex seam attack with Godleman falling in the last over before tea to the occasional off-spin of Robinson. Shortly after tea the light became poor enough for Sussex to have to use slow bowlers only, and Thakor and Poynton coped well as they added 79 in 26 overs, but a misjudgement led to Poynton being run out with three overs remaining in the day.
The threatened heavy overnight rain duly arrived, so there could be no play before lunch, but the skies cleared and the umpires decided that play could resume at 1.10pm with a possible 72 overs remaining.
Thakor played yet another competent and confident innings, but was out to a brute of a ball for 81 from 102 balls. Palladino and Cotton made merry as they added 51 in five overs for the last wicket before Cotton was bowled. Sussex thus required a mere eleven runs to win, and this they duly did in short time.
Derbyshire 150 (43.3 overs) (SJ Thakor 47*, NT Broom 22; SJ Magoffin 4 for 23, A Shahzad 3 for 34, SJ Whittington 3 for 52) and 2 ( overs) (SJ Thakor 81, BA Godleman 49, AP Palladino 29*, T Poynton 29, BD Cotton 26, WL Madsen 23, MJJ Critchley 20; OE Robinson 4 for 110, SJ Magoffin 2 for 44, SJ Whittingham 2 for 76)
Sussex 447 for 8 dec (109.5 overs) (EC Joyce 106, LWP Wells 104, CD Nash 65, LRPL Taylor 52; WL Madsen 2 for 65, MJJ Critchley 2 for 101, TAI Taylor 2 for 103) and 11 for 0 (0.3 overs)
Sussex (24 points) beat Derbyshire (2) by 10 wickets