Magoffin wraps up vital championship win for Sussex

Steve Magoffin finished off Gloucs / Picture by Phil Westlake

Steve Magoffin finished off Gloucs / Picture by Phil Westlake

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Sussex wasted no time completing their second win of the season in the Specsavers County Championship, requiring just 17 balls on the final day to take the last of the nine Gloucestershire wickets they needed to win by an innings and two runs.

Sussex had taken total control of the game on the second and third days, as centuries from Luke Wells and Ben Brown built a 160-run lead on first innings.

With Liam Norwell absent with a head injury sustained while batting on the second morning, Sussex only required nine second innings wicket and, either side of tea on Monday, they picked up eight of them for just 112.

In their way stood the Taylor brothers, Jack and Matt, who - even with an extra eight overs taken on the third day - made it to stumps just 11 runs behind, with the former smiting three sixes in his 52 not out.

On the final morning, their resistance briefly continued, with Matt punching Steve Magoffin through the covers for four in the first over, and Jack - who looked to farm the strike - hitting Chris Jordan down the ground for four more.

But in Magoffin’s second over, Jack Taylor looked to clear the infield and smash Gloucestershire into the lead, but was bowled for 56 to become the Australian’s seventh wicket of the match. Jordan finished with 4 for 36 in the second innings to go with his 52 runs.

Luke Wright, the Sussex captain, said: “I’m delighted. It’s felt like this result has been coming for a while, we just haven’t been able to get over the line.

“On this wicket, if they were four or five down it might have been a tough day. But after day one, and their recovery from 34-4, the way we pulled themselves back after that disappointment, the dressing room just felt deflated, you could feel it after day one.

“Everyone came back very determined and there was belief we could bat big, and we did that. It was a great feeling to put ourselves in that position last night, and it felt like the old days.

“We need to get on a run and see where it takes us. We feel confident in this form of the game now. We need to put pressure on the guys right up at the top.

“Essex are in a good position, but we need to focus on ourselves, get some wins under our belt, and then keep ourselves in contention for the last two or three games. We can’t afford any slip-ups, because we don’t want to have to play the last couple just for pride.”

Sussex gained the maximum 24 points from the match, while Gloucestershire took six. Both teams have five games left in the season, and Sussex remain unbeaten, although nine of their matches have ended in draws.

BRUCE TALBOT

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