Somerset 372 (22 points) beat Sussex 142 & 219 (3 points) by an innings and 11 runs.
Somerset needed just 75 minutes to finish off Sussex on day 4 of the LVCC game at Hove to hand themselves a first win of the campaign and Sussex their first defeat.
The hosts resumed their innings on 156 for 6 following on, still 68 runs adrift of the visitors, and it looked at one stage like the only hope Sussex had of avoiding defeat was the swirling mist that descended onto the ground from the sea stopping play just as it started at 11 ‘o’ clock. But the fog dispersed and so did any hopes Sussex may have harboured of victory as Somerset ruthlessly went about their business.
There was still no Craig Kieswetter who was suffering from an upset stomach so Alex Barrow continued to deputise behind the stumps. First over of the day went, surprisingly, to Mybs but this was just a cameo as Tres opted for the pace of Thommo and Jamie who bowled well in tandem heaping pressure on the Sussex batters. The home team had added only 10 when Overton removed Jordan, the seventh man out, who was taken at slip by Hildy for 7 and the score 166.
But skipper Joyce was batting well at the other end when captain Tres made an inspired bowling change and brought on Lewis Gregory. The Irish international had moved on to 93 and looked set for a third century of the season when he played on and, in doing so, gave Gregs his 8th wicket of the match, an eight wicket haul for the second match running. If victory for the south coast county looked unlikely with their captain at the crease it looked impossible as he trudged off with the score 190 for 8 still needing 40 to make Somerset bat again.
Tregs came into the attack and, in his first over, removed Anyon (10) just two runs later and it was now game over. Magoffin (20 not out) and Lewis (7) added 26 before Gregs struck again bowling the latter to claim his 4th wicket of the innings and 9th of the match and Sussex were all out for 219. It was fitting that Lewis was last man out as he has played for two clubs that every Somerset fan loves to hate – Gloucestershire and Surrey – and he had a little bit to say for himself when bowling to Tres.
The victory takes Somerset into second in the table behind Sussex albeit temporarily. It was a conclusive victory made more impressive by the fact that this is a very good Sussex side that had won their two opening games so emphatically and will be a force this season. Added to that the various injury niggles the team had to overcome and that the best part of day one was lost to the rain.
Sussex captain Ed Joyce was philosophical in defeat and he told the Argus newspaper: “We have blown two teams away this season and we were blown away ourselves in this match which I think shows the nature of this division.
“When a team gets on top they tend to keep their foot on your throat and fair play to Somerset they did that.
“It is a quality division. You are going to lose games, that’s just the way it is. We would have taken two wins out of three at the start of the season so there is no need to panic.
After the game Tres praised his team claiming that he was “delighted” with the victory and that “no win comes easy”. The key period for the captain was Tuesday morning when the Somerset bowlers managed to remove the Sussex top order.
Man of the match for me was Lewis Gregory who scored 47 with bat in hand and had his best ever match figures of 9 for 97. What a difference a year makes for this young man who this time last year was out of the team and he eventually went back to his club side in Devon to get some matches under his belt and to gain a bit of confidence. It worked and he had a strong finish to 2013 and it looks like he could be set for a big season if he can maintain his impressive form.
Tres said of his young charge: “Lewis had a fantastic game, and the 75-run partnership he shared with Johann Myburgh at the end of our innings was so important and was key to us in the game, because that really put them under pressure and hurt them.
“Then Lewis took nine wickets, so he has had a brilliant game. He came through right at the end of last season and has now taken 20 wickets this time round. Once we get his batting right into the frame of where he can be, then he is going to become a genuine all-rounder for us.”
Also mentions for Tres who captained the team well and scored his first ton since 2012 (what did I tell you about form being temporary, class being permanent), Alviro for an impressive 76 and Compo whose contribution of 41 does not tell the whole tale, batting in difficult conditions.
And so we all head to Taunton on Sunday and the arrival of a powerful looking Notts team. Bring it on!