5:40pm Sunday 20th May 2012
THE weather halted a Sussex charge against Worcestershire in LV= County Championship Division One at New Road.
Chris Nash and Ed Joyce turned the clock back 12 months with an unbroken opening stand of 143.
Their first century partnership in a year stretched Sussex’s lead to a commanding 199 but bad light and light rain wiped out the final session and put declaration plans on hold until the last day.
For Worcestershire, the third day, albeit cut short by 44 overs, became increasingly uncomfortable.
In 2011 they stayed in Division One despite losing their first six matches. This year there has been an improvement, with three draws so far, but finding a way to win games will be key to their survival battle.
Any hopes they had of matching Sussex’s first-innings total of 315 evaporated on the third morning with their dismissal for 259 after losing their last three wickets for the addition of 28 runs.
Jack Shantry managed to hold out with 22 not out in his first championship knock of the season but there was nothing substantial from his partners.
Ben Scott was out lbw to Jimmy Anyon, David Lucas was run out by Nash’s quick reactions at short leg and Richard Jones scooped up a catch to mid-on as Monty Panesar completed a return of 3-65 in 23 overs.
Former Worcestershire player Steve Magoffin had the best figures after an immaculate performance in bowling 30 overs for his 2-35.
In response, Sussex’s opening batsmen produced a timely resurgence after losing some of their momentum.
They began last season with five three-figure stands before putting on 201 in a successful run chase against Somerset at Hove on May 19.
Nash has not scored a century since reaching 120 in that match but the trip to Worcester – for his 100th appearance in first-class cricket – has been highly profitable so far with scores of 84 and 69 not out.
Apart from a couple of sketchy shots, notably a top-edged cut parried by Michael Klinger at third slip, Nash played himself into a good rhythm. His driving was particularly impressive with 11 fours before the umpires took the players off at 3pm.
In cruising to 70 from 118 balls, Joyce was a different player from the one who laboured for more than an hour over six runs in the first innings.
His timing was spot-on from the outset, with nothing better than an effortless pull for six off Lucas, and he also notched eight other boundaries.
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