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Sussex destined to remain in second tier

Short stay: Delray Rawlins added 11 to his first-innings 34

Sussex’s promotion hopes were virtually dashed yesterday when they suffered a devastating 181-run loss to Derbyshire in their Specsavers County Championship second division match at the Pattonair County Ground in Derby.

Delray Rawlins scored 11 in the second innings as Sussex, who were set a target of 345 for victory, were dismissed for 163, enabling Derbyshire to end a run of three straight championship defeats.

Sussex trail third-placed Northamptonshire by 16 points with one game remaining. Northamptonshire, who occupy the final promotion spot, go into the final day today requiring two Durham wickets for victory to eliminate Rawlins’s club from contention. Durham need an unlikely 190 runs.

Sussex’s loss was a complete turnaround after leading by 93 on first innings having dismissed Derbyshire for just 138. Rawlins, who made 34 in the first innings, was out yesterday at 90 for four, caught at mid-off after a 20-minute stay at the crease. He faced 15 balls.

Sussex folded against the Derbyshire attack, with Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Anuj Dal and Matt Critchley taking three wickets each. Opener Phil Salt led the batting with 38 of the first 72 runs before he was third out. Stiaan van Zyl scored 27 and captain Ben Brown was unbeaten on 29 as wickets fell around him.

Salt had flirted with danger numerous times before he edged to first slip, while Rawlins fell to a loose shot for the second time in the match in the penultimate over before tea.

Sussex’s fate was sealed when Van Zyl and David Wiese were caught behind off successive balls, leaving Brown to watch helplessly as the tailend crumbled against the bowling of Critchley, a leg spinner, who picked up the last three Sussex wickets to all but condemn Sussex to another season in the second tier.