After rain had washed out the first and third days, the match was reduced to one innings apiece following the now customary double forfeit.
Sussex, resuming on 216 for three, added 103 runs for the loss of four more wickets and declared half an hour before lunch. Alan Wells, with 92, had provided the lion's share of the runs on Thursday, and yesterday Bill Athey, Neil Lenham and Peter Moores made sure their captain's efforts did not go to waste, Moores in particular weighing in with some lusty blows.
Set 320 to win in a minimum of 72 overs, Middlesex simply capitulated from the moment Paul Jarvis had Paul Weekes caught behind from the first ball of the second over. Vasbert Drakes, the Barbadian overseas replacement for Franklyn Stephenson, then removed Jason Pooley in similar fashion to send Middlesex in to lunch on 20 for two.
With Mark Ramprakash and Mike Gatting at the crease, anything was still possible, and when Gatting greeted Jarvis's first ball after lunch with the most solid of forward defensives, a collapse did not look on the agenda. But four balls later, Gatting, playing the same stroke, succeeded only in spooning the ball back into the bowler's hands.
As John Carr, their last front-line batsman, walked to the wicket, Middlesex were faced with a rearguard action if they were to salvage the game. Ramprakash took the edge off Drake's pace with a couple of nicely timed square drives, but Carr did not last long, pinned leg before on the back foot by Jarvis, aiming away over deep square leg when perhaps he should have been looking straight ahead.
Ramprakash and Keith Brown staged a mini-revival, but Wells, with judicious bowling changes, nipped it in the bud. First young Danny Law, with his third ball, bamboozled Ramprakash and clean-bowled him; then Brown, facing Ed Giddins's first ball, gave the wicketkeeper Moores his third catch of the innings.
That was 64 for six and with a tail not exactly akin to that of a Manx cat, it took 14 balls for Giddins and Law to finish off Middlesex, giving Sussex their first Championship win this summer.
Following the mauling they took at the hands of Warwickshire, this bowling performance could not have been more welcome for Wells and his team, and if Ian Salisbury and the four pacemen remain fit they will be a handful for any side.
As for Middlesex, last week's victory over Durham looks suspiciously hollow now. Their frail batting line-up has been exposed several times this season, and they must be wishing that the new Sussex coach, Desmond Haynes, was still on their books. Last season's runners-up are looking distinctly run-down.Reuse content