Sussex edge home by one run at Chelmsford
Sussex beat Essex by one run in a dramatic finish at Chelmsford after the home side had made encouraging early progress towards their target of 244 for victory.
Stephen Peters, who was promoted to open, continued his splendid recent run of form, hitting 66 with eight boundaries. He put on 58 with Darren Robinson for the first wicket before adding 89 with Stuart Law in a partnership that appeared to tilt the balance in favour of the batting side.
When Law was run out for 40 Essex were 147-2 but then a mini-collapse saw four quick wickets fall for the addition of 15 runs before Paul Grayson steadied the ship. With careful shot selection he added valuable runs in tandem with Ashley Cowan, the pair putting on 48 in six overs to edge their side ever nearer the target.
Requiring 15 runs from the last two overs with four wickets remaining, Cowan, having scored 22, edged a catch behind off James Kirtley. New batsman Ricky Anderson fell in the same over and with nine runs wanted from the last over of the day, Kirtley played a captain's role, limiting Essex to seven runs while capturing two wickets.
Mark Ilott arrived to face the final two deliveries but a bye was all that could be gleaned, leaving Sussex victors by one run and the unfortunate Grayson stranded on 48 not out.
Sussex, who elected to bat, reached 243-6 with Richard Montgomerie forming the cornerstone of the innings.
The 29-year-old hit a personal competition-best of 91 off 116 deliveries. His innings included ten fours and he was only dismissed in the 39th over having seen 194 runs posted on the scoreboard.
Umer Rashid then batted briskly late in the innings for 28 off 22 deliveries to set Essex a challenging target but the home side were left to reflect a costly concession of 25 runs in wides during their opponent's innings.