The challenge is to get Sussex promoted after five seasons languishing in the second tier. There was money to play with but my acquisitions have plunged us into the red. Against Nottinghamshire we have scraped a rain affected draw. Now, we head to the north.
Meaker and Wiese take the ball for the opening of the third day. Bugger all happens, really, until eight overs into the day when Wiese gets Harvey Hosein leg before for a handy 34. 269-6
Fynn Hudson-Prentice comes to the wicket just as we take the new ball – unwisely as I’ve just run my fast bowlers into the floor.
So it’s Claydon and Bopara with his dibbly dobbly right arm “medium”.
Claydon gets Hudson-Prentice clean bowled for 15, and then Ravi “outthinks” (read: embarrasses) Sean Abbott getting him LBW for 5. 301-8
The Ravinator has a decent shout for a second next ball. Tony Palladino makes a hash of a straight one but he’s reprieved by the umpire who is, apparently, blind.
I bring Meaker back on and, first ball, he gets Critchley for 53. Derbyshire are 301-9
Their number 11, Ravi Rampaul decides to blaze and gets the streakiest 14 you’ve ever seen in your life. Eventually, Salt takes a flying catch at gully to get rid. 319 all out. We lead by 99.
Salt decides to open the innings like he’s dancing barefoot on a hot tin roof. I am not surprised when he’s out off the bowling of Palladino for 18. For that paltry score, he’s already tried to snick behind five times. 19-1, a lead of 118.
At lunch we are 32-1. van Zyl seems much more composed. Right up until he squaffs one to Madsen in the gully off Reece for 14. 45-2
Then Head comes in. The feet are up on the pavilion steps and I am confident, seeing as he’s been superb.
Then he’s out for 2 and I am fuming. 49-3 and our lead of 148 is not quite what one would want…
I send my wee man Finch out with a spring in his step. He was excellent in that first innings. My confidence does begin to feel a little misplaced as he squeaks through an excellent lb shout from Reece.
He finally falls to him for 9 after he cross-battedly spoons one to slip. Madsen again takes a good catch. 63-4
At the other end, Wells has been playing a thoroughly disciplined innings. His 29 takes 108 balls before Abbott gets him lbw. 83-5
At tea, Bopara and Brown are at the wicket. We lead by 190, but any hopes of putting huge pressure on them to chase 500 or something is long gone.
It really recedes as Bopara goes in the first over after tea. I seethe. Again. 92-6
Wiese clumps a beautiful cover drive for four, before Brown decides to catch the disease and goes lbw to Palladino for 8. 99-7.
They’re into the tail. This is karma for last week and our squeaker of a draw, isn’t it?
Meaker survives a creditable lb shout but we do at least bring up the century. 101-7 and we lead by 200. That will give them something to think about on a final day chase.
This positivity doesn’t last long. Meaker goes lbw to Abbott for 6.106-8
Reece then gets Claydon lbw for seven. The 29-year-old Luis Reece, a left arm medium who makes Bopara look rapid, has taken 118 first class wickets at 26.65. However, in this innings he’s bowled 9.1 over, and has taken 4 for 19.
Basically, we’re playing this journeyman like he’s Malcolm fucking Marshall.
He then bowls Will Beer for a golden duck, and he’s taken two wickets in two balls. We are 120 all out, a lead of 219 runs.
Derbyshire have an hour to navigate and a day. They begin really well. Wiese makes the first breakthrough and gets Reece for 11 caught and bowled.
They are 45-1 at the end of day three.