County Championship Div 1, Hove, Day 3 of 4:
Middlesex 211 ao (68), Dexter 40, Khan and Anyon 3 wickets each, Sussex 98/2 (25) win by 8 wickets.
£15, scorecard £1 (!), coffee £1.60, excellent bacon rolls at £2.80, pint Thatchers £3.80 (some Greene King rubbish refused, apparently they've usurped Harveys sadly, but you can still get the proper stuff at the Sussex Cricketers.)
Att:1200 ish. Apparently they had 3000 on Day 1. For some reason Sunday Championship play is a hard sell at many grounds.
Not a bad days cricket at this wonderful venue (not only my words, but the comment from my Middlesex supporting friend sat next to me). Starting at 95/2, Middlesex looked to be building a decent second innings, but a string of poor shots initiated by Malan, together with hostile bowling by Amjad Khan, reduced them to 177/7 at lunch.
There was a brief fightback as Dexter, coming in way down the order, marshalled the tail, until James Anyon came into the attack. He hit both batsmen, Rayner quite badly. Rayner was plainly unsettled and started backing away from every ball and the end came soon after.
95 was never going to be enough. Sussex almost knocked them off before tea but the umpires took them off at 68/2 saying there was no chance of them getting the runs in the mandatory extra 4 overs. Predictably, Goodwin came out and thrashed Rayners off spin for two sixes and they won 2.5 overs into the post tea session!
The pitch was a bit variable, it was green on top but otherwise like a normal Hove pitch, however some deliveries went right through the top. Monty was saying that these hard patches sent the ball flying off randomly and were damaging it. Home advantage was obviously a factor here, as it is proving at a lot of venues due to the adverse weather and its effect on pitch preparation.
This win moves the mighty Sharks up to second just 10 behind Warwickshire, but having played one game more. Had Sussex started the season better they could be on for another title (Anyon and Khan were unrecognisable today from my first game V Notts) but I suspect they have left themselves too much to do.
Train and bus connections worked flawlessly, the journey taking less than 3 hours in both directions. As usual Southern were their reliable selves. Had time for a celebratory pint of Harveys Olympian at the Lord Nelson before the journey home.