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Match drawn but Ben Brown century sets up spirited push for victory

Skipper Ben Brown scored his 20th first-class century as Sussex’s LV= Insurance County Championship match against Glamorgan at The 1st Central County Ground ended in a draw.

Brown got to three figures with a six off Tim van der Gugten and immediately declared Sussex’s second innings on 263 for six, setting Glamorgan a target of 275 to win in 51 overs.

Off-spinner Jack Carson took three wickets and there were still ten overs remaining when Kiran Carlson top-edged a sweep to leave Glamorgan 131 for five, but Andrew Salter and Dan Douthwaite stood firm, taking their side to 154 for five when the players shook hands after two balls of the final over.

Stuart Meaker had removed opener David Lloyd for 17 in his fourth over with the new ball, courtesy of a smart catch at second slip by Aaron Thomason, and after tea Carson took his tally of Championship wickets to 31, making him Sussex’s leading-wicket taker in the competition.

Colin Ingram (27), Billy Root (12) and Carlson (23) all perished to catches by fielders clustered around the bat while opener Joe Cooke, who faced 89 balls for his 19, failed to pick Will Beer’s googly. But Salter, promoted from no.10, stood firm, absorbing 58 balls in his 19 not out.  

Both sides took 12 points, meaning Sussex will finish either fifth or sixth while Glamorgan have the chance to end third if they can beat Northamptonshire in their next match starting on Sunday.

Brown had earlier extended his fifth wicket stand with Ali Orr to 100 before opener Orr’s impressive innings ended the ball after they had reached their milestone when he was leg before to David Lloyd’s inswinger for 80, made off 193 balls with ten fours. It was an excellent effort by the 19-year-old left-hander who has made half-centuries in his first two Championship innings.

Dan Ibrahim (17) was leg before hitting across the line at van der Gugten but Brown and Will Beer upped the tempo after lunch, adding 65 for the seventh wicket in 11.1 overs as the field spread and Glamorgan waited for the declaration.

Brown’s second hundred of the season came off 134 balls, the second 50 taking 53 deliveries. He hit six fours and deposited van der Gugten over mid-wicket before going to his century later in the same over. Glamorgan’s most successful bowler was van der Gugten, who finished with three for 44.

Ben Brown said, “I think it was a hugely positive four days for us and I am very proud of the players. We had eight players unavailable which made the build-up really challenging and an depleted bowling attack but the commitment from everyone was fantastic. Had it not been for the rain earlier in the match, I think we could have won.

“We talked at lunch about the declaration and we wanted to give them 50 overs or so. It was slightly on the safe side but we have seen sides chase targets here when the pitch has flattened out and we were wary of that, but actually it spun more than we expected. Jack Carson was outstanding again and the young players can take a lot of confidence from how they performed, especially Ali Orr. He drew a lot of compliments out there for the way he played. To get 80 under pressure showed fantastic character.

“I don’t think I’ve got to a hundred before with a six. I was going to declare at the end of the over anyway, so it was nice to get there rather than be 94 not out!”

Glamorgan Head Coach Matt Maynard said: “We did a lot of work in the winter on how to play on spinning pitches and I thought we adapted really well and we saved the game pretty comfortably in the end. It wasn’t easy, Jack Carson is a very talented young spinner who is an exciting prospect but we negated that pretty well.

“We’re going to be in the second division which is nice. We have shown a bit of character this season and we’re working harder to get more resilient individually and as a group. We’re not the finished article but I am delighted that we could potentially finish third in what was a very tough group, although we now face four very tough matches at the end of the season.”  

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