An opening day century from debutant Ollie Robinson couldn’t give Sussex the edge over Durham as the hosts chased 262 to win in the final innings during a freezing four days at Chester-le-Street (Writes Tom Bage).
Surprisingly for a game that saw players batting at nine, ten, and eleven all post scores over 50 the pitch appeared to favour the bowlers. Only one or two batters in each innings managed to turn a start into a big score and Sussex’s Matt Machan along with Durham’s Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick were the only recognised batsmen to reach a half century.
Robinson was supported by number eleven Matt Hobden (65*) on the first day, and together the pair posted 164, breaking the record Sussex final wicket partnership and frustrating the Durham bowlers.
A fine 72 followed from Australian John Hastings which saved Durham from falling behind on the first innings and took the hosts to a four run lead before the second innings.
Machan took the initiative for Sussex on day three with a battling 80 in the morning, as it once again proved tough to settle on the early season track. His teammates were unable to make the most of this platform though as Durham bowler Chris Rushworth picked up his second five wicket haul of the season.
The third day was curtailed by rain leaving Sussex needing eight wickets on the final day, while the hosts required 147 runs. An early strike from Ajmal Shahzad removed Mike Richardson and gave hope to Sussex. But Borthwick’s controlled 97*, supported by Calum MacLeod (26) and Paul Collingwood (35*), saw Durham cruise home and finish April alongside Sussex on two Championship wins.
Cricket Manager Mark Robinson said: “We’ve seven players missing here and we’ve fought really hard and we’ve managed to stay in the game. We could’ve been out the game a couple of times and we’ve had two great opportunities to put ourselves in real winning positions.
“The team is growing, there’s a good mood in the camp, we played some good cricket, we probably need to be a little bit more clinical with the bat and we’ve seen that in all three games but we’re fighting hard.
“There’s loads of positives. Ollie Robinson on debut he’s thrust straight in due to the injuries and he’s had a dream debut to get a hundred and a four-for. Matt Machan has continued his good form, I think his innings today was probably the best because of the context and how he’s had to fight.”
The squad get a well-earned break from competitive cricket this week before they return to County Championship action with the visit of Middlesex on the 10th May.
We played some good cricket, we probably need to be a little bit more clinical with the batMark Robinson