|Scorecard:||Somerset v Sussex|
|Event:||LV County Championship 2013|
DateLine: 10th July 2013
John Ward at Taunton, day 3
Close of play: Somerset (244 and 209) lost to Sussex (363 and 92/1) by nine wickets.
It was a doddle. Sussex returned to the top of the championship table with a victory over Somerset on the third morning that was even easier than they could have hoped for. Apart from some bluster from Steve Kirby, Somerset showed no real fight whatever, and a sparkling and untroubled fifty from Chris Nash took the visitors home by nine wickets just before lunch.
Somerset began the third day on 197 for seven, only 78 runs ahead and, with the weather set fair, facing certain defeat barring very unusual happenings. Their innings was over within 25 minutes, for the addition of a mere 12 runs. Alfie Thomas (6) set things in motion with the softest dismissal any fielding side could hope to see, popping up the gentlest of catches to short midwicket off Steve Magoffin.
At the other end Chris Jordan bowled with much pace and life, if tending to be short and erratic at times. He removed Peter Trego (16), who slashed at a ball outside the off stump and provided the wicket-keeper Ben Brown with his ninth catch of the match. Finally Magoffin ended the innings by bowling Jamie Overton for 1, leaving Kirby unbeaten without scoring. The total was a disappointing 209, setting Sussex a target of only 91. James Anyon took four wickets for 56 runs and Magoffin four for 36.
Somerset set attacking fields with three or four slips, desperately hoping for a miracle, but they were never in with a chance of that. Kirby did his best, pumping himself up, bouncing and sledging the batsmen. His testosterone did not unduly worry the batsmen, though, who scored quite freely off him until with the total at 40 Luke Wright (19) got a good one which he edged to third slip.
His partner Chris Nash prospered, playing some dashing strokes, and reached his fifty off only 58 balls, just after stepping down the pitch to drive a ball from George Dockrell straight for six. Dockrell had only arrived at the match this morning, along with Ed Joyce for Sussex, pushing out Craig Meschede and Matt Machan respectively, as both bad been playing an ODI for Ireland. There is widespread criticism of the ECB for allowing these farcical circumstances to take place in a first-class match.
Within minutes of this Nash finished the match with a four and another six (an on-drive this time) off the same bowler from successive deliveries, and the match was over twelve minutes before the scheduled time for lunch. It had been all too easy for Sussex on this abbreviated third day, when they were allowed to do just as they pleased, whether batting or in the field. Judging by their performance in this match, Somerset will give Surrey and Derbyshire some strong competition for demotion to Division Two of the championship at the end of the season.
(Article: Copyright © 2013 John Ward)