But an heroic half-century from 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Oli Carter almost snatched an astonishing victory for Sussex after they looked out of the contest at 141 for eight. The only top order Sussex batsman to play an innings of substance was Ben Brown, who scored a fine 63 from 78 deliveries, with six fours. But the other big guns Travis Head and David Wiese failed and it looked all over when Brown played on to Jared Warned as he tried to run the ball down to third man to make it 124 for six.
Dan Ibrahim and Will Beer soon perished. But then a partnership of 62 between Carter, going in No 7, and No 10 Archie Lenham almost took Sussex to a famous victory. Carter faced just 48 balls for his 59 and hit five fours and three sixes as 20 came off one Matt Taylor over.
When Carter was out, yorked by Warner, 15 runs were still needed but 17-year-old Lenham and last man Henry Crocombe kept Sussex alive with six needed off two overs. Then Lenham was run out by Tom Lace’s fine throw going for a second run off the fifth ball of the penultimate over. If they had settled for one Lenham would have needed to score just four off the last over.
The best Gloucestershire batting came at the end, with a stand of 71 for the sixth wicket in nine overs between Jack Taylor and George Scott but they only really got after the Sussex bowling in the dying overs.
Taylor left it late to show his clean-hitting skills as he reached his first 50 of the summer off 60 deliveries, with three fours and a six. Scott made 38 off 28 balls, with two fours and a six.
The most fluent Gloucestershire batting came from their opener Ben Charlesworth, who hit seven fours in an innings full of fluent drives that looked destined to produce a major score.
At 71 for three from 17 overs there was a 70-minute rain break which resulted in the match being turned into a 42-over affair. The Gloucestershire batsmen were expected to increase the tempo when play resumed but they were strangled by the trio of Sussex spinners, Beer, Lenham and James Coles. The very consistent Beer was exceptional with figures of 2-30 from nine overs.
Carter said: It was bittersweet at the end for me. Not so much for the dressing room because obviously we didn’t get over the line. But on another day we will easily get over the line and it will be a great feeling in the dressing room. It was very tense at the end. A lot of people didn’t want to watch. It was really exciting and that’s what cricket’s all about, coming down to the last over or two. It was brilliant to watch really.
“Archie and I just went over by over, figuring out what we needed to do when. Getting the run rate down was a massive target for us. So when we got it down to seven or eight overs it was just ticking along.”