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Rawlins and Sussex denied by unbeaten stand

Back in action: Rawlins returned to the Sussex line-up (Photograph by Sussex CCC)

An unbroken seventh-wicket stand denied Delray Rawlins and his Sussex team-mates victory on the final day of their four-day Specsavers County Championship Division Two match against Gloucestershire at Hove yesterday.

The visiting side were staring at defeat at 117 for six in their second innings, 234 runs shy of their target, with one session remaining in the day’s play.

However, an unbroken partnership of 95 between Gloucestershire pair Jack Taylor and Kieran Noema-Barnett frustrated the Sussex attack and salvaged a draw for the visiting side.

“We were setting up a game,” Rawlins said. “Not a bad game to be honest.”

Gloucestershire had been set 351 to win in 75 overs after Sussex declared their second innings at 142 for one. Rawlins, promoted to opening batsman, was the only Sussex wicket to fall.

The left-hander scored 24 from 20 deliveries with all of his runs coming from boundaries, including three straight in the first over off of makeshift bowler Cameron Bancroft.

However, Bancroft, who usually plays wicketkeeper, had the final say as he had Rawlins caught behind with the fourth delivery of the fifth over.

Fellow opener Harry Finch and Luke Wells added 106 for the second wicket before Sussex made the declaration.

Sussex went back to bat at the beginning of yesterday’s final day of the match at 1st Central County Ground after Gloucestershire declared their first innings overnight on 150 for one, 208 runs behind the home side’s first innings score of 359 for nine declared.

The visiting side were on the ropes after being reduced to 30 for three in their second innings at lunch. Seam bowler Abi Sakande made the breakthrough in the eleventh over after bowling Bancroft for 13.

Jofra Archer, the Barbados and West Indies Under-19 fast bowler, then tightened the screws after removing Chris Dent and Gareth Roderick to put Gloucestershire on the back foot. Sussex made further inroads by claiming three additional wickets after lunch before Taylor and Noema-Barnett dropped anchor and saved the match for Gloucestershire.

Taylor was unbeaten on 69 and partner Noema-Barnett on 37. Archer, Sakande and England Test bowler Chris Jordan claimed two wickets each.

“The wicket was pretty flat,” Rawlins added. “But I thought we bowled well.”

Rawlins reclaimed his place in the first team after an innings of 96 in Sussex’s win over South Africa A at Arundel last week.