Sussex – 202
Gloucestershire – 136 for 6
Gloucestershire ended the opening day of their final fixture of the season on an even footing with their hosts, trailing Sussex by 66 runs with four wickets in hand.
Sent in to bat, the home side were dismissed for just 202, before snagging six Gloucestershire wickets in the evening session.
Ben Charlesworth and James Bracey edged Sussex seamer Brad Currie to second and third slip respectively, whilst opener Chris Dent smacked a short Sean Hunt delivery straight to Henry Crocombe at mid-wicket.
Hunt, who’s taken some tap this season, returned in the day’s dying light to dismiss Ollie Price, who was caught by James Coles at third slip for an enterprising 27.
In at four, Miles Hammond acted the aggressor, bludgeoning nine boundaries in his 54-ball 48 before he too was caught by Crocombe after skying a looping delivery from off-spinner Jack Carson.
The day’s final wicket went to Tom Haines with three overs to play – Graeme van Buuren somehow picking out Carson at deep square leg.
Bowling first, the visitors were led admirably by seam bowler Matt Taylor, who finished with fine figures of 5 for 24 from his 14 overs.
Bowling a tidy line all morning, Taylor found the outside edges of Tom Alsop and Oli Carter, who were caught behind by wicket-keeper Bracey, and opener Tom Clark, who fell victim to a sharp catch by Charlesworth at second slip.
Clark’s opening partner Haines was the only Sussex man to make any inroads in the morning session. Full of the trademark cuts and cover drives that the Hove faithful have come to expect from their former skipper, his 87-ball 62 was the sole highlight of an otherwise abysmal morning session.
Haines’ wicket was the pick of Taylor’s five – a deceptive out-swinger that sent the off-stump flying. His final wicket was also bowled – this time an in-swinging yorker to dismiss Crocombe.
Gohar also got in on the act. Extracting extravagant bounce, the off-spinner helped himself to the wickets of Coles, who edged to slip, and Fynn Hudson-Prentice, who chipped a simple chance to Dent at extra cover.
Eight wickets down for only 117, a plucky half-century from Carson rescued the home side from a complete capitulation.
Featuring eight well executed boundaries, Carson’s score of 56 took Sussex past 200, with most of the runs coming in a hard fought ninth wicket stand with Hunt.
Their 71-run partnership would eventually be broken when Zaman Akhter got amongst the wickets, felling Hunt with a steep bouncer, which the tail-ender could only fend to Bracey behind the stumps.
Gohar put a complete stop to the Sussex fun soon after, gifting Bracey his fourth catch of the innings with a length ball that Carson nicked behind.
Price claimed the only other Sussex wicket, clean bowling Ali Orr with a sharp turning off-break midway through the home side’s collapse.
After the close of play Sean Hunt, who scored 22 and claimed two wickets for 35 runs said: “It’s never ideal to come in at 177 for 8, so it was nice to get a bit of a partnership with Jack. I was just playing second fiddle to him, getting all the runs, but it was nice to get a few myself.
“I got 14 last year, so this was my top score, which was nice.
“At Hove, you have to get as many runs as you can because the pitch does get better. It’s hard to bat on the first day, but we still felt like we were short. To come out and get them six down was very handy because we know the pitch is going to get better as the game goes on.
“I didn’t bowl my best at the start of the year, so it’s nice to come back in and take some wickets.”
Day two starts at 10.30 am at the 1st Central County Ground.