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 Leicestershire we have, really for the first, put a performance together. The rise of Sussex looks set.
Claydon holds up an end and Bopara continues playing quite fluently.
Old Mitch survives being clean bowled by dint of a no ball. He finally falls for 18 caught on the crease. He’s done really well with Bopara and we are 307-9.
The lead is 129 and we’re not even at lunch. Glamorgan are going to knock this off in an hour.
I really hope that Beer can support Bopara to his century. He has deserved it.
He doesn’t, of course. It’s not that sort of game.
The former international is left stranded on 94*. Good for his average, less good for us.
Glamorgan need 155 to win and they have the best part of the whole day to do it.
By lunch: they are 21-0.
Beer makes a breakthrough. They’re 31-1 and guess who comes to the crease. That’s right – bloody Labuschagne comes to the wicket.
I feel my backside tighten. In fact, so disconsolate am I, that I am staring at the horizon so I miss Beer tossing one up outside leg stump. The catch is snaffled at short leg by Wiese and the big hitting Aussie is gone for 0.
31-2 and still only 123 behind.
I accept this is merely God taunting me, and that it’s the hope that will kill me.
The hell of that hope glints brighter when Beer does it again. Owen Morgan caught by the shunned Salt for 6 and Glams are suddenly 47-3. Root tries to swipe Claydon but mistimes it and the catch is taken by van Zyl. 59-4.
However, let’s be honest: they need 95 and we have zero chance. But William Beer is going to be bought a couple of beers by me for his efforts today.
Sheffield is beginning to puff at the end of his second spell, but I leave him on for one more over. He gets Cooke for 10 and Douthwaite for 0 the following ball. The foetus is on a hat trick and my selection suddenly looks inspired. We’ve reduced them to 84-6.
I know we’re doomed, but it is a lot more respectable than it might have been. Inspired by the youngster, it is Claydon who steps up next and he snares Smith for another duck. 89-7.
In his next over, he gets de Lange for a duck as well. 93-8. 61 needed and there’s been more ducks in this innings than a Sussex village pond.
Beer is back at the other end and van Gugten is looking to settle in. But he figures without Beer’s non-spinning straight one. Lbw for 5. 104-9.
They need 50. We need one wicket.
And we get it! Beer’s next over sees Hogan caught behind off his third ball by Brown for 0.
They are 106 all out, with five ducks in their line up and we have absolutely stolen one here.
The Glamorgan coach tells me he is going to check his rings are still there when we shake hands – and I can’t blame him.
We win by 47 runs. Beer has taken 5 for 20 off 12.3 overs with 4 maidens and is, rightfully, given the Man of the Match champagne.
We also take 22 points, although Glamorgan’s 8 bonus points actually see them go top. We leapfrog Middlesex and are now at the giddy heights of 4th.
We are making a habit of these great escapes.
My blood pressure is not good.