Relegation worry for Somerset
Sussex 363 (Yardy 156, Machan 103) and 92 for 1 (Nash 61*) beat Somerset 244 (Hildreth 66, Kieswetter 55, Magoffin 4-65) and 209 (Magoffin 4-36, Anyon 4-56)
For the second time this season, indeed in less than 12 sessions of play all told, Sussex out-played Somerset to the extent of defenestration. One side is now distinctly concerned about relegation, as Marcus Trescothick candidly admitted, while the other leads the Division One Championship table.
Sussex, captained by Ed Joyce for the first time in this match upon his return from representing Ireland, took the remaining three Somerset wickets in the first 22 minutes of play and, needing 91 to win, had triumphed before lunch. It was hardly worth George Dockrell's while returning with Joyce: Chris Nash brought about victory by hitting him for four and, next ball, for six.
For the second time in the match, Steve Magoffin took four wickets, maintaining a steady length and benefiting from Trescothick's erroneous decision to bat upon winning the toss through movement off the pitch. Now, he had Alfonso Thomas caught at an unaccustomedly short mid-on (so it was worth Joyce's while to journey to the west country) and bowled Jamie Overton.
Peter Trego, who can change the course of a match as rapidly as any batsman through quick scoring, attempted to square cut Chris Jordan and was held by Ben Brown, whose ninth catch of the match this was. So Somerset were dismissed for the second time for a total under 250. Even in conditions in which there was more movement than the customary first hour on the first morning, this was never likely to be enough at Taunton.
Sussex began their second innings as if adamant that the match would be over by lunchtime. Although Luke Wells edged Steve Kirby to third slip, Nash, now relegated to the role of stand-in leader, reached a half century off 58 balls with eight fours and a six. There was a little turn for Dockrell, but insufficient bite.
"We are concerned about second division cricket," said Trescothick, who has a first-class best of 74 this season. "All the players are hurting as much as anybody else. Over the first two days we were not good enough and I regret my decision to bat first - I didn't expect the ball to move off the seam as much as it did. Although I have won the toss quite a few times, I have made mistakes deciding whether to bat or bowl.
"My own form is not good enough and because we are losing wickets early, pressure is being put on the batsmen coming in at three and four. Our batsmen and bowlers are not getting us ahead of the game."
The difficulty Somerset have now is that they do not have another Championship fixture until they play Nottinghamshire at the start of August. In the meantime, there are countless t20 fixtures. "We are gelling in that," Trescothick added. The drawback, of course, is that his players will be in the wrong sort of mode to resume first-class cricket.
There is no substance in the rumours on Twitter that he will be giving up the captaincy or retiring. One might have thought Trescothick would be the last person to indulge in social media in that he is a private, family man, not the kind of person to indulge in frippery or idle gossip.
Yet he was aware of what was being said and there he was tweeting his best wishes to England before play at Trent Bridge - at any rate, when he was out of the nets. What he and his players will need over the remainder of the season is a period of good old-fashioned consolidation.