Sussex 440 (Brown 116, Wiese 93, Finch 82, Ferguson 4-106) and 353 for 6 dec (Salt 148, Wells 78) beat Derbyshire 389 (Godleman 122, Madsen 72, Hughes 60*) and 161 (Briggs 3-41) by 243 runs
Durham made such short shrift of Glamorgan that they were back in the northeast by Tuesday tea time, with ample time to recuperate ahead of their Vitality Blast quarter-final against Sussex on Friday. For Sussex, the past four days have been rather more strenuous as they were detained beyond tea on the final day before ridding themselves of Derbyshire's stubborn challenge.
Nevertheless, they would have travelled as far as the East Midlands, where they were breaking their journey overnight, in good heart, feeling themselves in good order. The news that Ben Stokes has been withdrawn by the ECB from Durham's squad because of a slight knee injury will only encourage Sussex's optimism.
Derbyshire could have invited every motivational speaker in the land to a Brighton hotel and they would still never have believed they could chase down what would have been a county-record 405 for victory. Men in suits could have led them down the sea front proclaiming: "You're always at your strongest when you feel at your weakest," or "You must do the things you cannot do", but the tide was going only one way.
A wicketkeeper injured in the warm-up before the start of the first day, a seam bowler needing medical checks fore breathing difficulties and an opening batsman suffering concussion all added up to a catalogue of ill luck.
A decent final-day batting surface offered Derbyshire sustenance, but the skies were grey, the floodlights beamed down soon after lunch, and Sussex steadily picked through the order to regain second place in Division Two as they responded to Kent's victory with one of their own. Their win, by 243 runs, was their biggest against Derbyshire, in terms of runs, in their history. A patient bowling display was a cut above a desultory effort during much of Derbyshire's first innings.
Jason Gillespie, Sussex's coach, said: "We weren't at our best with the ball in their first innings but then we had that special partnership at the start of our second innings between Phil Salt and Luke Wells. Salt's innings was pretty special and it bought us time. The match could have potentially been heading towards a draw until then. We scored at six an over, which is virtually unheard of in first-class cricket."
This was Ben Slater's final Derbyshire innings before his much-anticipated switch to Nottinghamshire - confirmed on Wednesday evening - and his career ended sickeningly when he was struck by a short ball from Jofra Archer, on 40, and retired hurt under the new concussion protocols, Anuj Dal taking his place. It was a hostile delivery from around the wicket which Slater failed to fend off defensively. He leaves Derbyshire with around 5000 runs in all formats and a sore head. It is his List A record that stands out - the county format least talked about.
Derbyshire resisted for 23.3 overs before losing their captain, Billy Godleman, to a fine delivery from David Wiese which came back to hit off stump. To get Wayne Madsen in the following over for a fourth-ball duck - another ball that snaked back, this time from Chris Jordan - brought Sussex the minimum they would have wanted from the morning session.
Three wickets in four overs early in the afternoon hastened Sussex's victory. Left-arm spinner Danny Briggs picked off a couple of lbws with straight balls - Sean Ervine on the back foot, Daryl Smit sweeping - and, in between, Archer's insistent line was enough to draw Matt Critchley's edge. Ervine, on loan from Hampshire, had announced his arrival at the crease with two reverse sweeps, an approach that did not altogether find favour with Derbyshire's travelling supporters.
Ollie Robinson then became the fifth Sussex bowler to contribute to their victory, Alex Hughes, who had ground out 20 from 67 balls, edging an excellent delivery to the wicketkeeper, and Hardus Viljoen carving at a more nondescript one and suffering the same outcome.
Dal, who broke into Derbyshire's T20 side this year, was a third lbw victim for Briggs, in the first over after tea. He had come in after Slater's blow for a somewhat unsatisfying first-class debut. A catch taken earlier in the game as a substitute - when he was not officially taking part in the game - will not count to his first-class record. But his runs will and he resisted gamely for 25 from 103 balls, lightening an innings of defiance by a lightsome skip down the pitch at one stage to chip Briggs for six.
Lockie Ferguson's Derbyshire record did not inspire confidence: his 20 wickets for the county far exceeding his runs. He made a small dent in that record by adding a single, but then chopped a short ball from Archer on to his stumps, trying to leave. With Ravi Rampaul absent, Sussex had their victory and, as they boarded the coach north, thoughts turned to their Blast quarter-final.