It all ended with a whimper for Sussex, whose relegation, alongside Worcestershire, to the Second Division of the County Championship was confirmed here yesterday afternoon as they were bowled out for 243 in their first innings.
It meant that, with only one of four bonus points won, the best they could take from the match was 18 points, even if they turned a deficit of 85 into a win. That would take their tally for the season to 157, but Hampshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire, all of whom, theoretically, could have been caught, all have more, regardless of their results.
Typically, despite a gallant 135 from opener Chris Nash, Sussex's demise was the consequence of a batting collapse, their last six wickets disappearing for 41, the most critical damage inflicted by Andre Adams, the Nottinghamshire swing bowler, after Michael Yardy's team went from 202 for 4 to 218 for 8 in the space of six overs. Mark Robinson, Sussex's Yorkshire-born coach, was not aware his side's fate was decided until after the close but, given that their chance of survival had always been tenuous, he was already in reflective mode.
"I think we already knew last Saturday, after we had lost to Yorkshire," he said. "I had a go at them at tea on the first day because we had committed to this game, to have a go and play with a smile on our faces.
"But we are mentally tired and it is a bit like a heavyweight boxer on the ropes. There are only so many blows you can take before one of them is a knockout."