Sussex players given stark message ahead of Derbyshire clash

Ben Brown / Picture by Phil Westlake
Ben Brown / Picture by Phil Westlake

Ben Brown says only a collective effort by his Sussex team will keep their chances of promotion alive in the Specsavers County Championship.

Sussex face Derbyshire at Hove starting on Tuesday probably needing to win their last three games to squeeze into the second promotion place in Division Two.

They had won six in eight before last week’s six-wicket defeat to Northamptonshire left them 38 points behind Worcestershire, albeit with a game in hand.

“Individuals have to do better,” said Brown. “You can talk about it but you have to put it right on the pitch. We haven’t performed in the last couple of games and we have get back to playing our best cricket, starting from ball one on day one against Derbyshire.

“We need to bat better as a team. Too often it’s guys rescuing us on their own instead of us batting well as a group and that has to change.”

Sussex effectively lost the game at Northampton on the first two days, having got away with a similarly slow start in their previous match against Glamorgan with a one-wicket win.

“Last week was hugely disappointing,” admitted Brown. “We spoke about getting into games quicker after we won at Colwyn Bay and starting better. Northants had to scrap to get over the line last week after what I thought was an amazing fightback by us, but we were outplayed on the first two days and if you perform like that against better sides they will punish you.”

Sussex will have to make at least one change to their side with Chris Jordan absent as he prepares for England’s T20 international against West Indies on Saturday. Stuart Whittingham or left-armer George Garton are the likely replacements.

At least Sussex know what they have to do in the remaining three weeks.

“In terms of the promotion race we’re slightly behind it now,” said Brown. “We’re coming from behind. We have to win our game in hand on Worcestershire but we’ve still got a chance of pushing for second place.

“This week is a huge game. It’s a must win – it’s pretty straightforward. We’ve played well but not in long enough periods in recent weeks and we have to do that for four days against Derbyshire and hope that’s enough to get the win.”

Hove will be unfamiliar territory for Sussex. The General Election hadn’t even taken place when they last played a four-day game there when they beat Worcestershire on June 5.