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Mike Griffith

Narrow Victories

28-May-2015

The Sussex supporters who were at Hove on Tuesday to witness the county’s thrilling one-wicket win over Warwickshire were part of something pretty unique.

Going back to 1844, Sussex have only been involved in such narrow victories on ten occasions and it has only happened seven times since the County Championship itself began in 1864, when the competition was won by the team who lost the fewest number of games before a points system was introduced in 1890.

The last occurrence, and only second time since the Second World War, was in 1971 when Sussex and their traditional August Bank Holiday rivals Middlesex at Hove.

Middlesex batted first and scored 351 for 8 declared to which Sussex responded with 228 for 8 declared. Back in those days of three-day cricket teams regularly declared their first innings behind before their opponents could set them a target for the last day.

This time though, Middlesex had no answer in their second innings to the brilliant fast bowling of John Snow, who took five wickets for seven runs, his best performance of a troubled summer during which the England ace had been dropped by the committee for a lack of effort.

Having dismissed Middlesex for 101, Sussex were left to score 225 in just under four hours and were in danger of defeat at 208 for 7 with two players, Mike Griffith and Mike Buss, struggling with injury having been unable to field earlier in the day.

Griffith, who had been hit on the elbow earlier in the match, came out to bat with his arm in a sling but somehow managed to score eight runs. In an eventful last over Griffith saw John Spencer bowled by John Price off the second ball and Uday Joshi leg before to the fourth. Out strode Buss and, defying the pain of a strained back, he hit the winning run with a ball to spare!

That win was the first by the slenderest of margins since 1956 when Jim Parks had last man Ted James at the crease when he completed an unbeaten century to beat Worcestershire.

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