Cricket / Sunday League Sussex assume total command

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The Independent Online
Sussex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .283-8

Leics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .220-7

Sussex win by 63 runs

ENCHANTING venue though this may be, Leicestershire will be mightily relieved to get back to the graceless environs of Grace Road. After going under in less than five sessions in the Championship match, Nigel Briers and his hapless confreres sank without trace again here yesterday.

After 222 years, however, there is a danger, sadly, of this ground following suit, as a first- class stage at least. Time was when Horsham ranked among the best-heeled towns in the land but the recession has hit hard. Just one sponsor had the wherewithal to support the scheduled four-day fixture. The pity is that, on sun-drenched days such as this, there are few finer places to watch bat and ball collide.

To the delight of the 3,000- odd who gathered yesterday, the collision during the Sussex innings left the Leicestershire attack beyond repair as the home side ran up the third-highest total under the new format, having posted 310 against Surrey two weeks ago.

The rule requiring seven men to be stationed within the fielding circle for the first 15 overs, coupled with the short boundaries, was predestined to bring something violent from Franklyn Stephenson, and the now bespectacled all-rounder had no trouble sighting his target as he set the tone with a raucous cameo of 30.

David Smith, now in his dotage but still capable of manipulating the best bowling, provided the ballast with 75 from 100 balls, adding 84 in 16 overs with the ebullient Martin Speight, whose 65-ball 52 contained one remarkable six, flipped over backward square off Jonathan Dakin, Leicestershire's rangy new opening bowler.

A well-controlled spell of left- arm spin from the vastly improved Laurie Potter checked the onslaught, but the final total looked more than enough even before Stephenson had Briers taken by the swooping Neil Lenham at backward point in the fourth over of what could only charitably be described as a chase.

Speight ran out Ben Smith in the next over, and by the time Tim Boon had outpaced the over tally the contest was finished as a meaningful exercise. Those slime-green shirts could scarcely have suited the visitors better.