Kent 47-0, Sussex: Mother Nature clouds Sussex's title defence

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The Independent Online

The weather has not been kind to Sussex, the start to their County Championship defence has been drenched by rain. There has been one victory over Nottinghamshire and one defeat to Durham.

The other four completed matches have drizzled and dripped to draws, now this latest match looks almost certain to become the fifth. Even after they managed to get started at four o'clock they were twice driven off temporarily, once for rain, the second time for bad light, and a third time terminally for bad light again, bringing their total of overs lost this season to 584 – or about six days.

There are those who would say Sussex had it coming, that fortune and the weather have shone on them when their rivals were kicking their heels in dressing rooms around the country while the South Coast side reaped a harvest of vital title points.

Sussex coach Mark Robinson said: "This has been the toughest start to a season, in terms of the weather, in my time in charge. But maybe it's Sussex's turn not to be blessed by the weather. I know in the past Sussex have been fortunate, playing when others couldn't, but this year has been just the opposite. We have been hit badly."

Captain Chris Adams was stoical about things yesterday during the long wait to get on the field. "We find ourselves in the position of others in previous seasons of not being able to get any momentum going, but we can't control the weather.

"But when I look at the table I can see no damage has been done at either end of it. Nobody has put themselves in trouble, but likewise nobody has really got a grip on it and is pulling away from the rest."

What does sit uneasily with Sussex is the uneven spread of games played. Durham will have played five matches by the end of this opening stage of the Championship, two fewer than Sussex.

Robinson, not unreasonably, said: "I do think there is an imbalance in the fixtures. We are at the beginning of June and this is our seventh game. We are stacked up massively through April and May, and then stacked up late August and September, but we seem to have very little in the middle.

"I am not criticising it and saying it is not fair, but it just does not seem to be equal [across the first division]. I think it would be nice if we all played matches at the same time, rather than have what we have at the end of this round, which is one county on seven games, another on five and others on six."

At least Adams won the toss yesterday and there was no hesitation in putting Kent in on a pitch that only 72 hours earlier had taken a soaking. It took almost 22 overs before the decision paid off when Luke Wright, bowling the first over after the stoppage for bad light, had Kent opener Joe Denly lbw, with the Kent total just shy of 50. Nine balls later bad light drove them off for the final time.