Thanks to some injudicious shot selection by the Sussex batters in their second innings a game that looked to be heading for a draw came to an exciting climax in the final session of day four, as Glamorgan chased down a target of 141.
On day one, Sussex were asked to bat first on a slow pitch which provided little assistance to the bowlers. However, the two openers were gone with the score on 29, before Tom Clark and Oliver Carter halted the slide, putting on 100 for the third wicket. Clark was dismissed for 55 and the next two batters both went quickly. Carter continued on to post his maiden first class century, getting important support from Henry Crocombe and Jack Brooks, who came in at nine and ten and both scored 36. Carter was last man out for 185, Sussex finishing on 376. Off-spinner, Andrew Salter was the pick of the Glamorgan bowlers, finishing with 4/104 off 41.4 overs. The Glamorgan attack had been weakened when Michael Hogan pulled out after the first day having tested positive for COVID. He was replaced by seamer Andrew Gorvin. The Glamorgan wicket keeper, Chris Cooke also suffered a calf injury during the first day, initially with Colin Ingram taking the gloves, before Tom Cullen took over at the start of day two.
Glamorgan lost their skipper David Lloyd in the second over of the reply, but Eddie Byrom, in his first Championship game of the season, and Ingram posted a new second-wicket record for Glamorgan of 328. Ingram fell for 178 and Crocombe yorked Sam Northeast the next ball. Kiran Carlson survived the hat trick delivery but was caught behind in Crocombe’s next over. The collapse continued as Billy Root was out with the score on 348. Byrom was the seventh wicket, dismissed for 176, with the score on 403. Important late order runs were added by Michael Neser (33), Andrew Salter (32) and Cooke (32), who batted with a runner. However, the final total of 494 fell short of what was expected at 333/1.
When Sussex came to bat second time around, trailing by 118, the pitch was slower and lower and Salter was bowling by the eighth over. His introduction brought immediate success as Tom Alsop struck a full toss straight to Carlson at extra cover. His opening partner, Tom Haines was then out, strangled down the leg side and at 29/2 Sussex were in some trouble. Further careless batting led to a steady loss of wickets. Resistance was put up by Carter, backing up his first innings century with 83 and a half century from Delray Rawlins. However, Sussex were dismissed for a disappointing 258, leaving Glamorgan a target of 141 from a minimum of 43 overs. The pick of the Glamorgan bowlers was Michael Neser, who put in another wholehearted effort, to finish with 3/58.
The Glamorgan chase got off to the worst possible start as the top three were gone before the side had reached double figures. The wickets were shared between Brooks and Sean Hunt (nearly 18 years his junior). Northeast and Carlson steadied things, with a partnership of 76 off 124 balls and when Carlson was out stumped, running past a delivery from Archie Lenham, the requirement was 56 runs from 15 overs. Root had a rather frantic stay before being caught behind down the leg side off Brooks, leaving 23 runs needed off 39 balls. Cooke came out and immediately took the attack to Lenham, who conceded 13 runs in the next over. Glamorgan finally crossed the line with 23 balls and five wickets to spare, thanks to a resolute innings from Northeast, who finished 45 not out. Despite his final overs, 17-year-old Lenham continued to show his promise as a leg spinner, bowling with admirable control and his match tally of just two wickets did not reflect the problems he created for the Glamorgan batters.
Sussex are a young side, with an average age of just 22 and while there is undoubtedly talent in their midst, it will take a while before it is likely to bring success. Meanwhile Glamorgan move up into third spot in the Division Two table, equal on points with Derbyshire, but with one more win. They are 17 points behind second placed Middlesex, who suffered a defeat to Derbyshire this week, all these teams having played seven matches. There is now a week of T20’s before another round of Championship fixtures.