Sussex coast to comfortable win
Sussex 256 for 4 beat Surrey 252 by six wickets
Sussex's bid for a third successive 40-over league title gained momentum as they eased to a six-wicket win over Surrey Lions at Guildford.
An unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 113 in 14.5 overs between skipper Mike Yardy and Andrew Hodd saw Sussex home with 10 balls to spare and took them a point above their rivals and into second place in Clydesdale Bank 40 Group A, although Surrey do have a game in hand.
Surrey looked favourites when Gareth Batty had opener Chris Nash (62) caught off a top-edged sweep and bowled Murray Goodwin with the next ball of the 24th over to leave Sussex 143 for 4. The asking rate then climbed beyond nine an over but the chase was transformed when Sussex plundered 47 runs in their four-over batting powerplay which they delayed until the 35th over.
Chris Tremlett was hit for 15 and Jade Dernbach for 16 and Yardy won the game with successive boundaries off Tremlett. Yardy finished with 66 off 46 balls and Hodd, with 46 off 43 deliveries, gave him excellent support.
Nash had given Sussex a decent platform by sharing half-century stands with Ed Joyce and Joe Gatting and although Surrey's spinners kept things tight in the middle of the innings, their total of 252 looked 30 runs short on a small ground.
Surrey had been indebted to Stewart Walters, whose 88 gave them a competitive total, although it was not as big as looked likely after the start given to them by openers Rory Hamilton-Brown and Steve Davies. The pair had put on 190 as Surrey piled up a record score of 386 against Glamorgan last Wednesday and looked in the mood for a repeat as Hamilton-Brown hit James Kirtley out of the attack by taking 18 off his second over.
Sussex brought Chris Liddle into the attack and the left-armer struck with his fourth ball when Hamilton-Brown skied a drive to mid-on, before he had Davies taken at mid-off in his next over.
Walters consolidated with Mark Ramprakash in a stand of 84 in 17 overs but was dropped off his own bowling by Yardy the ball before reaching his fifty with the only boundary the Sussex captain conceded in eight tight overs of left-arm spin.
A strangely subdued Ramprakash hit a six off Liddle out of the ground but it was a rare moment of aggression in his 33 off 51 deliveries and Kirtley returned to bowl him as he played across the line. Wickets fell regularly after that with Liddle completing four for 39 as he ended a stand of 51 in eight overs for the fifth wicket when he had Matthew Spriegel caught behind and Walters taken at deep mid-wicket.
Surrey's last five wickets fell for 30 runs in four overs with Kirtley picking up two in the last over to finish with four for 60, a decent comeback considering his first two overs had disappeared for 30 runs.