Relegation fear as Sussex heavily beaten at Horsham

Sunday July 19 – Tuesday July 21 – LV= County Championship Division 1
Nottinghamshire 570-7 declared
Sussex 213 all out and (following on) 254 all out
Nottinghamshire won by an innings and 103 runs

Coming to the Horsham Festival both sides were struggling but Notts won comprehensively with a day to spare, torpedoing fourth day income and pushing Sussex into the relegation zone.
Winning the toss Notts fully capitalised on the opportunity to bat first. Yet, Sussex drew first blood, reducing the visitors to 30-3 with wickets from Matt Hobden and Ollie Robinson. James Taylor and Rikki Wessels regrouped but when Wessels and then Patel departed, both to Robinson (4-112), with Notts on 186-5 honours were even – only for spectators to be treated to a batting masterclass from James Taylor and skipper Chris Read. Taylor took 163 off Sussex in 2012 and 204 in 2014 but after passing his first century of the 2015 campaign he accelerated, Notts finishing the first day on 358-5, Taylor poised on 163. On day two Read notched up his third championship hundred of the season, Steve Magoffin bowling an exemplary 31 overs for 1-53, but this was Taylor’s day, his superlative 291 – his highest score – overtaking, amid other records, the previous best at Horsham (Ian Bell’s 262 in 2004). Sussex Chairman Jim May quipped: “Taylor is a lovely player, but why does he keep doing it to us!” Taylor attributed his achievement to former Sussex and England coach Peter Moores, saying: “I’ve worked closely with him and he’s been brilliant,” a beaming Moores told the District Post: “It’s great to be back at Horsham!”

Clearly bruised, how would Sussex respond? Initially well, until the 79 run first wicket partnership gave way to 123-4, the top six batsmen all failing to progress after reaching double figures, Ed Joyce and Luke Wells scoring forties and Luke Wright 50, Sussex subsiding to 213 all out, seven wickets falling before lunch on day three. Following on Sussex recovered to 92-2 and 183-3, Matt Machan getting a run a ball 108, but, again the middle order and tail folded, Harry Gurney taking his match haul to 8 scalps and 40 year old bowling coach Gary Keedy, on his seasonal debut, five. Wicket keeper Chris Read’s seven catches edge him closer towards 1000 victims, on reaching which he has threatened to retire, a major loss for cricket followers. With Sussex supporters far from happy opinions varied as to whether the major problem is with the fragile batting or limited bowling.

Captain Ed Joyce said: “I’m very disappointed but if we’d got another wicket on the first morning we might have restricted them to a par 350. It was difficult to juggle our depleted bowling and we need to bat better as a unit after several of us got starts. We’re in a relegation battle but we can turn it around.”

Martin Read

Sports Reporter

Photo by John Lines


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