Derbyshire 315 for 5 (Godleman 122, Madsen 72, Hughes 60*) trail Sussex 440 (Brown 116, Wiese 93, Finch 82, Ferguson 4-106) by 125 runs
It can confidently be stated by all present at Hove that Ben Slater is still a Derbyshire cricketer. For a couple more days at least. The two electronic scoreboards displayed his name in block capitals. Mike Charman, who doubles up as Sussex's scorer and PA announcer, introduced him to the crease with a characteristic flourish and when a dodgy drive at a wide one saw him fall at third slip, his 24 was duly added to his Derbyshire career record.
Odd therefore that Nottinghamshire's website should already be proudly announcing the completion of his transfer. Apparently, he was available for selection for the current Championship match against Hampshire, only he wasn't really because he was batting for Derbyshire at Hove. There was a wonderfully ironic quote about how he couldn't wait to get started at Trent Bridge; that much was abundantly clear.
How had Notts jumped the gun? Had they been hacked? Could they somehow blame it on the Russians? Nobody could be sure, but roughly the time that the story was removed, and showed up as Error 404, Slater was committing Error 24. County cricket is in a state of change, but to find two Ben Slaters operating in parallel worlds was a little disturbing.
More pertinently for Notts, whose record of signing top-order batsmen in the past 10 years has hardly been one of unbroken success, the signing of Slater would be a gamble. Two of his three Championship hundreds for Derbyshire came in a single match when they thrashed a pitiful Leicestershire by 408 runs. That leaves one other Championship hundred in four years.
On such days, to be captain of Derbyshire can feel a thankless task. But Billy Godleman, who has had a good white-ball season but who was only averaging 13 in the Championship, responded with 122 from 196 balls before he was bowled by a legspinner from Luke Wells - Wells' second ball - which turned through the gate.
Godleman is hardly the most elegant batsman around, prospering by a series of shovelled cuts - two in the first over after lunch off Jofra Archer, flipping Danny Briggs for six over the short boundary on the scoreboard side, and hacking Chris Jordan through point to reach his first Championship hundred of the season. He responded by crossing himself, probably praying that there wasn't another one of him playing for Nottinghamshire.
The most stylish knock was played, as so often, by Wayne Madsen, who is another batsman who might be on his way and who fell for 72 to the first ball after tea trying to cut Jordan, a fair-enough shot, badly executed. Faced by Sussex's 440, Derbyshire were 285 for 2 before Godleman fell, but they lost three wickets in a final session where Archer and Jordan set the tone in the first hour with Sussex's most disciplined phase of the day.
Sean Ervine, on loan from Hampshire, was run out for 2 by Ollie Robinson from mid-on (a good but marginal call by the umpire), and nightwatchman Hardus Viljoen pushed forward with consummate sobriety to the last ball of the day but was bowled as Briggs turned one past his outside edge.
At 315 for 5, Derbyshire trailed at the close by 125 and Sussex, second in the table, had come out even from a demanding day. Alex Hughes, 60 not out overnight, only his second fifty of the season, carries many of Derbyshire's hopes on a slow surface which neutered Sussex's seam attack but which is offering some turn for the spinners.