Nottinghamshire 534 for 9 declared (Mullaney 192, Evison 109*, James 63, Finn 3-84) and 14 for 0 beats sussex 375 (Clark 100, Orr 68, Haines 59, Patterson-White 5-84) and 172 (Hutton 3-39, James 3-49, Patterson-White 3-54) by ten wickets
By the end of that game, competitors in the Brighton Marathon, which had caused several road closures on Sunday morning, were likely soaking in a hot tub. The County Championship, cricket’s version of such an event, barely left the stadium before heading into dips and paths, most of which have yet to be properly explored. And yes, there will be an irritating month-long break in August. Any conclusion on a team’s outlook will therefore only be slightly less tentative than it was on Thursday morning.
But based on the evidence presented in that match at Hove, it’s clear that Nottinghamshire’s status as favorites to win the Second Division is fully justified. Talking about places of promotion is more risky. It is not yet known whether the thrusters of the ECB will propose six out of three divisions, Owzthat dice or relocate everything to Balochistan in November. Surprisingly, the first-class season has started without the counties knowing what is really at stake.
Nevertheless, let us recall that halfway through the second afternoon of this game, when Nottinghamshire were 52 to 4 in response to Sussex’s 375, some members of the home side will have toyed with the idea that they might win the game. Fair enough, sure, but three sessions later they were faced with the stark acknowledgment that all they could do was save him. For young cricketers – and in the case of this understaffed Sussex side, it meant everyone was excluding Steven Finn – such awareness was probably difficult, but Finn may have reminded them that it was also part of the chosen profession.
The Nottinghamshire players are hugely skilled at this craft and they showed it by picking up a win that was completed half an hour after tea. Starting the day 130 runs late with nine wickets in hand, Sussex already knew he would have to beat most three sessions in order to scrape a draw. They also knew that a shoulder injury would prevent Dan Ibrahim from hitting. Nottinghamshire therefore had to take eight wickets on real ground and would have to manage without Luke Fletcher, who had a tight hamstring.
For almost an hour, everything went well for the Sussexes. Then they suffered two self-inflicted setbacks. After batting reasonably for 79 minutes, night watchman Jamie Atkins hooked a Brett Hutton bouncer directly to the long leg, where backup tall outfielder Calvin Harrison took a two-handed hold over his head . Atkins could take comfort that he had done his job, but such kindness was unavailable to Tom Alsop, who made six points in 16 minutes before chasing a very wide one from Lyndon James and making a catch at Tom Moores. Still, a lunchtime score of 89 for 3 was probably reasonably acceptable for the Sussex coaches; it was not until the first hour of play in the afternoon that the innings all but disintegrated and the match was decided.
The captaincy of Steven Mullaney and the reaction of his players has been exceptional during this period. Fletcher’s injury meant Mullaney had to use Hutton, his other new-ball bowler, relatively sparingly and with a specific plan in mind. Immediately after lunch, however, Hutton was called on the attack for a ferocious spell five on the Cromwell Road End and enjoyed instant success when Oli Carter’s vapid front defense from a straight ball left Mark Saggers with one of the easiest decisions he will make. all season.
Ali Orr, however, was a trickier opponent. Having decided that the Sussex fly-half was more likely to be caught in front of the wicket than in the slides, Mullaney had placed four defenders in short position on either side of the pitch before lunch. Now he has done the full month and placed the entire foursome on the leg side with two more behind them on the boundary.
These shock and Orr tactics paid off. Hutton worked the opener with a series of short balls, the whole company was spiced up with a liberal chirp and Orr finally pushed a clean catch straight to short-legged Ben Slater. He had hit 219 minutes for his 45 and 440 minutes for 113 points in the game. Such statistics will have been noticed by Grant Flower, Sussex’s new batting coach.
Nottinghamshire bowlers were now chasing victory relentlessly. Tom Clark came down from the wicket to Liam Patterson-White and grabbed Mullaney via Moores’ gloves; Delray Rawlins attempted to fire a bullet from James but only deflected it onto his stumps; Archie Lenham struck nicely but games are rarely saved by pretty low 18s. And yes, it had long been clear that Ibrahim would miss Sussex more than Fletcher would miss Nottinghamshire. As often in their great years, the Trent Bridge team found a way to win a game.
The Sussex tail fought valiantly but Patterson-White took the last two wickets thanks to lbw decisions on either side of the tea. He thus returned match numbers of 8 for 138 from 76.1 overs and certainly deserves a hot bath too. Haseeb Hameed’s three limits against Clark and Slater’s push against Atkins were the final moves in a great game, one Tom Haines and his players should have learned so much from that it needed a morning seminar rather than a press conference. to list them. .
Because on Saturday night Finn, 33, had opened up about how attracted he was to the Sussex ‘project’ and you can be sure that whenever sportspeople talk about their club having a project, they recognize that honors may take a few years to come. That’s to be expected in Hove. The average age of the Haines squad was 21.6. The defeat against Nottinghamshire in no way invalidates the strategy developed by Ian Salisbury and warmly supported by the new chairman, Jon Filby, who is a cricketer at heart. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Sussexes take around a couple of seasons to achieve their goals.