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Jon Culley at North Marine Road
August 15, 2014
Sussex 315 for 8 (Joyce 130, Cachopa 53, Wright 52) v Yorkshire
Yorkshire clawed back some ground with the second new ball, but after Ed Joyce's century provided the bedrock in a total with which Sussex should be more than content after being asked to bat first there is already some pressure on the Championship leaders if they are to enter the last month of the season still in front.
This is the only round of Championship cricket in a period of six weeks yet it may be the most important of Yorkshire's season. Their lead over Nottinghamshire remains slender and the prospect of going to Old Trafford next to take on a Lancashire side scrapping for survival awaits them before meeting their closest pursuers at Trent Bridge.
Northamptonshire are not making things easy for Nottinghamshire at Wantage Road but nonetheless, with those fixtures in mind, Yorkshire really need to treat the Scarborough holiday-makers to a win, as they did when Middlesex were here last month.
Andrew Gale's side are not short of confidence, having qualified for the quarter-finals of the Royal London Cup in the interim, but switching formats presents a challenge in itself.
Sussex are outsiders in the title race but remain in it, having beaten Warwickshire at Hove in their last four-day action. Theirs is a remote chance by comparison but they have players in their side who generally make them hard to beat. Steve Magoffin maintains a remarkable consistency with the ball and Joyce rarely seems to play a bad innings.
Joyce passed 1,000 first-class runs for the season and completed his sixth hundred - a fifth in the Championship - as Sussex have the upper hand on the opening day at North Marine Road, where they may have finished eight wickets down but have enough runs on the board to mean that Yorkshire already know they will have to play well to win the match. Although Sussex would have batted anyway, Gale undoubtedly hoped for better after winning the toss and deciding to bowl.
With Ryan Sidebottom fresh after being rested from the 50-over matches, it did not seem a bad decision. Scarborough pitches usually generate a good contest between bat and ball but Yorkshire, while unlucky at times not to find the edge when the ball beat the bat, did not bowl well enough consistently enough to ever feel on top, at least until they took the second new ball.
Sidebottom struck twice in the space of four deliveries during his opening spell but Sussex were only two down at lunch and had scored at a good rate, building on Chris Nash's early success against some erratic bowling, although a dropped catch by the normally reliable Adam Lyth at second slip did not help.
That error allowed Craig Cachopa to escape on 5 and it turned out to be fairly costly, the South African-born batsman reaching 53 before Lyth made amends after he and Joyce added 124 for the third wicket.
Luke Wright kept the scoreboard moving with a breezy 52 before he was bowled by Steve Patterson but Joyce, who survived a hard chance to third slip on 60, completed his century off 202 balls.
At that stage, a crowd of 4,624 were preparing to leave a little disappointed with what they had seen from the home county but the tide turned a touch with the second new ball.
Jack Brooks, who had not enjoyed one of his better days up to that point, struck twice in quick succession, trapping Steffan Piolet leg before and having Ben Brown taken at third slip by Kane Williamson, who took a second catch as James Tredwell gave Patterson a second wicket.
Joyce, on 130, fell to what proved to be the last ball of the day as Adil Rashid returned at the Trafalger Square End to bowl the last over, going to pull a ball that skidded on to him.
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