Surrey took a six wicket victory over Sussex at the Oval to win their first Bob Willis Trophy fixture.
Batting on a wicket more likely to be found in Mumbai than SE11, things never looked to be straightforward for Surrey despite chasing just 156.
Sussex had looked ahead for the best part of three days, however Surrey’s spin twins, Daniel Moriarty and Amar Virdi, took nine wickets in the evening session to reduce the visitors to 109-9.
Stuart Meaker was the only Sussex batsman to score more than 13, and he resumed on 32 on the fourth morning.
The former Surrey bowler brought the Sussex total to 128 before he was caught by Jamie Overton at mid off trying to hit Amar Virdi over the Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion.
All ten Sussex wickets fell to spin with Daniel Moriarty claiming his maiden ten wicket haul. The 21-year-old took his third consecutive five-for in the second innings, meaning he has taken 17 wickets in his two first class matches.
Sussex initially looked like they could replicate Surrey’s spin success after Scott Borthwick was caught off the bowling of Jack Carson for just 11.
Rory Burns looked much more comfortable at the crease. The England opener looked filled with confidence after scoring his fastest ever first class century in the first innings, and took the fight to the Sussex bowlers.
Hashim Amla and Jamie Smith both looked eager to get the game done before lunch. Amla launched two sixes in his run-a-ball 18. Smith looked equally aggressive, striking six boundaries, including two sixes, to help bring the hundred up for Surrey in the last over before lunch.
Following the break in play Rory Burns brought up his fifty, as Surrey inched closer to the title. However, an over of brilliance from 16-year-old James Coles brought Sussex back to life.
First the slow left arm spinner took out Smith’s middle stump to dismiss him for 33. Then Sussex’s youngest ever debutant turned the ball past a charging Burns to have him stumped on 52.
With two new batsmen at the crease Sussex looked in with a chance of victory. But with only 36 runs to play with, Will Jacks and Ben Foakes ticked over with ease.
Foakes then launched Rawlins into the stand to finish the match 13 not out, with Jacks 22 not out at the non striker’s end.
Speaking after the match Rory Burns said: “Results haven’t gone our way this year. For guys to perform the way they did is very pleasing.
“It was a pretty plastic pitch early on, and then it sped up as it went on with spin involved.
“It’s nice to think about other things, rather than myself, and it was nice to chip in and get some runs too. It’s definitely nice to be back at the Oval and to get some runs in my area.
On Daniel Moriarty, Burns said: “There’s a bit of Gareth Batty in there in terms of a competitive streak, which is always handy in a spinner. I thought him and Virdi really controlled the game for us at various points.
“It’s been a strange year with Corona so obviously results might not have gone our way, however to get younger guys games and get them up to the standard of first class cricket is an important thing. We’ve exposed them to it now. “
“They’re working and trying to get better now all the time.”