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. We have squeaked a victory from the jaws of defeat, despite accidentally sending Glamorgan top in the process.
In selection terms, I am tempted to leave things as they are. But Sheffield – who I concede was given something of a baptism of fire by, you know, me – did go for 172 runs.
Admittedly his 2-27 in the second innings was important, but five maidens is… oh, why am I justifying this?
Big Clown Feet Meaker is back and the young ‘en is dispatched to the Second XI.
Our reward for toppling the new table toppers is another trip to the Midlands – this time Nottinghamshire are the hosts.It’s not entirely unrelated to the spike in my blood pressure. Notts are a mere three points above us in the table.
A win here would not go amiss and would cement two good performances on the bounce. Is three too much to ask for?
When we get to the ground, I discover that one England international, S. Broad – averaging 19.53 with the bat and 27.22 with the ball – is nuzzled away at number nine on their team sheet.
Seven of their top eight are averaging over 30 with the bat, which is presumably why they are above us. However, my evolving line up has every one from 1-8 averaging over 30, and four of them over 40. This could be a squeaker.
We lose the toss and are banished to the field. The perfect start. Again.
I’m not saying that Meaker is rusty but when I chuck him the new cherry, his first over goes for one as Ben Duckett feels him out. His second, however, goes for 12 as Old Benny Boy slaps him through the off-side like he’s said the bad words about his mother.
After an eternity, Meaker keeps plodding in and, finally, Duckett misses one and he’s out lbw for 63. They have somewhat raced to104-1
I bring Mitchell Claydon back on, as the new batsman is a spin specialist, and I don’t want Will Beer getting slapped about.
33-year-old Steven Mullaney has been blazing at the other end from Duckett, he takes the bat as I tweak his line and aggression. Leg before wicket for 40. Boom! 106-2.
At lunch they are 165-2. Honestly, little happens. Ben Slater and Samit Patel just pat us around. There are few boundaries, fewer false strokes or chances either.
The score creeps up. Patel’s 50 comes up and then he loses concentration and spaffs one to Stiaan van Zyl at short leg, which is nice. Still, they’re 221-3.
At tea they are 270-3.
As the afternoon goes on, and the bowlers begin to have legs made entirely of worn away stubs, I sling on Ravi Bopara because, basically, I’m shit out of ideas.
His first over goes for 5 but, in his second, he gets Slater to finally slip up (on 120 in fairness) and Ben Brown takes a good catch behind the stumps. They now only lead by the small matter of 344-4
At the end of day one, they are 423-4. It is becoming apparent that we are not good starters.