Hamilton-Brown finds Sussex cheer
Sussex 363 for 4 (Joyce 129*, Hamilton-Brown 77*) v Nottinghamshire
If Ed Joyce played a captain's innings with a century to place his Sussex side in a commanding position at Trent Bridge, the man for whom captaincy became too much did not too badly either. Rory Hamilton-Brown abandoned the captaincy at Surrey and returned for solace to his Sussex roots and he found his best form of the season alongside his new skipper.
Joyce is comfortably Sussex's highest scorer of first class runs this season, with 638 to his name before today, and he extended that by scoring his second century of the year, finding the gaps in the off side with precision. The first was in a one day international for Ireland against Pakistan in May.
Hamilton-Brown, briefly dropped earlier this month, with only 200 Championship runs to his name, returned alongside him in style. Between them, they added 168 in 35 overs to make good use out of a rain-affected match that could be quietly dying a death.
He was averaging only 28 for the season and had passed 50 only once before but he moved within sight of his first century since returning for a second stint at Hove.
Hamilton-Brown made an uncertain start, but once he had smacked Shahzad for off side boundaries off successive balls he was into his stride.
Chris Read brought Patel into the attack and he had to be conscious of a very short boundary which had been exploited throughout Sussex's innings. But it was the much longer pavilion boundary that Hamilton-Brown cleared with a straight drive, followed immediately by a 4 in the same direction. He continued to bat assertively and reached his 50 in 72 balls, finishing on 77 not out.
When play finally got underway at 2.15 Luke Fletcher, a formidably built local lad, bowled with pace and purpose from the Pavilion End and it didn't take him long to have Chris Nash brilliantly caught by a diving Samit Patel at second slip.
Patel couldn't quite repeat the feat when Michael Yardy edged just wide of him for a boundary, but Nottinghamshire's disappointment was short lived as Yardy added just one more run before pulling Ajmal Shahzad's first ball of the day to long leg, where Harry Gurney took the catch.
Matt Prior came to the crease and, batting in his familiar combative style, added 65 with Joyce in 13 overs. It was off the last ball before tea that, appearing to be well established on 30, he played across the line to Fletcher and was LBW. Nottinghamshire showed understandable delight at seeing the back of such a dangerous player, but then of course they didn't know what they were in for after the break.