There was a brave flourish from Paul Jarvis, who thrashed a six and two fours in successive deliveries from Ben Hollioake in the penultimate over, but a moment of foolishness by the last man, Mark Robinson, who went for a single when all he had to do was stay put and leave the Yorkshireman to hit the dozen runs needed for victory.
The ball struck Robinson's pads and, distracted by the loud appeal for leg before, the batsman set off for a single that Jarvis most certainly did not want. Alistair Brown, who had already had a direct hit to run out Keith Greenfield earlier in the innings (a throw from 25 yards), made no mistake from a lot nearer. It was a shame. Jarvis had been well on course for the Gold Award, thanks to his haul of four wickets. As it was Salisbury took the award, and Surrey go into tomorrow's quarter-final draw.
Even before Jarvis's effort Sussex had made a fist of it and looked to be well on the way to victory. Neil Taylor thumped 67 in even time, Mark Newell hit his second successive half-century in the competition again at a run a ball, and Rajesh Rao also smacked a useful 61.
But Salisbury first applied the brakes, then broke Sussex hearts as he bowled Newell, Bill Athey and Nick Phillips before having Amer Khan leg before attempting a sweep.
But the clouds had not been confined to the skies in south London. Alec Stewart was involved in a heated exchange with the umpire, Graham Burgess, when Taylor, on 58, was given not out after an appeal for a catch behind. At the end of Jason Ratcliffe's over, Burgess waited for Stewart to reach the other end then spoke to him.
Afterwards Stewart explained: "The boys started having a go at the batter. I said settle down, never have a go at the batsman. The umpire [Burgess] had a pop at me. A couple of words were exchanged. But after I explained that I was trying to calm the situation down he apologised."
The matter will not be taken further and Stewart had the added satisfaction of scoring his third half-century in five B&H outings this season. His England team-mate Graham Thorpe was top scorer with a well-paced 78 and the pair's form will reassure the England selectors.Reuse content