Sussex 430 (Nash 118, Wells 85, Archer 59, Jordan 58) and 11 for 1 beat Worcestershire 268 (Barnard 65, Jordan 4-77) and 170 (Barnard 46, Wiese 3-35, Archer 3-39) by nine wickets
On a day when those around them were hampered by the weather, Sussex completed perhaps one of their most professional wins of the season, beating Worcestershire and the deluge that engulfed most of the Midlands by nine wickets and a day. Having started the match in fifth, Sussex leap to third, with a game in hand on Worcestershire, whose lead in second has been cut to 17 points.
Worcestershire were poor. It is hard to remember a Championship game where they have folded so meekly. To lose 12 wickets in five hours play is simply not what you would expect from a young side with a determination at their core that has seen them punch above their weight consistently over the last five years. This is only their third loss of the season but it is the manner of defeat that will jar even the most partisan Pear.
Sussex, though, have unfurled a run that now reads five wins in seven, a streak brought about by returns from injury, to form and the sort of swagger that has characterised their teams of the past. Chris Nash's revival with a first-innings 118, on a tricky day one pitch, wickets shared (Chris Jordan, Jofra Archer and David Wiese took 14 in the match between them) and an array of difficult catches held speak of a team peaking at the right time.
Even with rain washing out the morning session, Sussex were still able to make significant strikes in the first passage of play, which started at 1.10pm, removing the remaining two wickets in the Worcestershire first innings - 162 behind - and taking out their top order to leave them reeling on 66 for 5 at tea in their follow-on innings.
Aside from the rains, Ed Barnard was the only other uncontrollable that Sussex came up against today. The pick of the Worcestershire bowlers, he held firm to finish the first innings unbeaten on 65 - his third half-century of the season and fourth of his first-class career.
His knock threatened to take the hosts beyond their follow-on target, attacking well as he managed the strike effectively with No. 11 and debutant Pat Brown. He managed to take time out of the game when he struck David Wiese for a towering six that landed in the car park towards Worcester Cathedral. However, two balls later, Brown edged behind and Worcestershire had to start all over again.
Wiese continued from the Diglis End with an opening eight-over burst that saw him remove Daryl Mitchell, (bowled) Tom Fell (caught at second slip by Harry Finch, his sixth of the match) and then Clarke (bowled off an inside edge) - all three deliveries brought about by movement into the right-hander off the surface.
For the second time in the day, it was left to Barnard to fight for Worcestershire's pride. He took a couple of blows from Stuart Whittingham, who bowled with good pace to remove George Rhodes and Brett D'Oliveira for his first two wickets of the match. Both times, Barnard inspected his helmet and smiled like a man who had found a tenner in his spare pair of jeans rather than knocked on the bonce. If he was punch-drunk, he was snapped out of it by a cluster of wickets at the other end, as Jofra Archer removed Ben Cox, Joe Leach and John Hastings in the space of five balls. Barnard's smile was long gone.
Even in his grind, he was still able to show a wide range of strokes - his charge and thwack back over Wiese's head for six was Kevin Pietersen-esque in execution and attitude. He had no interest in keeling over like the rest of his side.
When he reached 35, he was given a round of applause from Worcestershire fans who had sat through the morning rain - it was his 100th run of the match, without being dismissed. Naturally, it was Barnard who put the hosts into the lead and he fell trying to add to it, skying Stiaan van Zyl to long on, where Whittingham ran in to take a catch (the same fielder had shelled Barnard in the first innings on 43).
Naturally, Barnard picked up a wicket in Sussex's chase of nine: Luke Wells chipping to skipper Joe Leach at midwicket after Mitchell had dropped the same batsmen at second slip. A streaky four through gully from Angus Robson sealed the win for Sussex. It may seem premature, but this match felt like two teams passing each other, with one very clearly on the way up.