Rawlins among the wickets to inspire Sussex
Delray Rawlins led the bowling with second-innings figures of three for 36 from 10.4 overs as Sussex boosted their promotion chances with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Gloucestershire in their Specsavers County Championship Division Two match yesterday in Bristol.
Starting the final day on 197 for six, Gloucestershire lost their last four wickets for only 46 runs as they were dismissed for 243, a lead of just 73. Rawlins and Chris Jordan claimed two wickets apiece as Rawlins removed the last two batsmen to end the innings.
Phil Salt and Stiaan van Zyl both scored 30 not out after sharing in an unbroken third-wicket stand of 41 as Sussex chased down their victory target, reaching 74 by mid-afternoon to move up to fifth in the standings, just eleven points off the third promotion spot with two games remaining.
Sussex claimed 23 points for the win while Gloucestershire got four points as they dropped to third place behind Northants, who moved into second place after defeating Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Gloucestershire offered some late resistance with a ninth-wicket stand of 38 between David Payne and Matt Taylor as Ben Brown, the Sussex captain called upon five bowlers in his bid for a breakthrough. Rawlins eventually came up trumps, beating Payne's outside edge to give Jordan a chance to take a low, one-handed catch at slip.
Rawlins ended the innings in his next over when he bowling West Indian pacer Shannon Gabriel who went for a big hit. Taylor finished on 28 not out.
Jason Gillespie, the Sussex coach, is delighted his team is still in with a chance with two games remaining. “We are aware of the situation, if we win our last two games then we have a great chance of getting to Division One,” the Australian said.
“We've had an up and down season, but are coming good at the right time. I think our defeat at Durham was a turning point. Being bowled out for less than a hundred was unacceptable and we've scored a lot more runs since then.
“Scoring runs on the pitches at Bristol is never easy and I was pleased with the way the guys applied themselves, particularly in the first innings. Winning in Bristol is hard to do and we have to be pleased with this result.
“I thought the bowlers were really disciplined as a group and that is something we need to take into the next game. It made a change for us not to rely on Ollie Robinson alone to take the wickets.”
Gillespie was hoping to have England pace bowler Jofra Archer available for their final match but that fell through.
“I've asked Trevor Bayliss if we can have Jofra back for the last game, but the answer was no,” the coach explained. “That's fair enough, it was what I expected.
“We had a bit of a joke about it on the phone. We've decided not to bring in another overseas player for the last few games, like some of the other counties have done. We'll go with what we've got.”
Sussex will play Derbyshire starting on Monday before meeting Worcestershire in their final match beginning the following Monday.
Derbyshire are eighth in the standings and Worcestershire ninth, with three teams being promoted and one relegated from Division One in order to reverse the number of teams in the two divisions. Division One will have ten teams next season and Division Two eight teams.