Worcestershire named an unchanged side for the final home match of the season with the visit of Sussex for a LV= County Championship Division 1 match. With both teams just outside the relegation places a win for either side would all but guarantee 1st Division survival.
Sussex won the toss and elected to bat first in overcast conditions. Alan Richardson and Kemar Roach shared the new ball and both picked up a wicket in their opening spells. Ed Joyce was bowled around his legs by Richardson for 6 and fellow opener Chris Nash was bowled by an inn-swinger by Roach for 13. The second string of Worcestershire bowlers were not able to maintain the pressure from the opening bowling pair with Sussex recovering to reach lunch on 113-2 with Joe Gatting and Murray Goodwin looking set to build a big 3rd wicket partnership.
A couple of dropped catches, one a very straightforward chance, and an overall below par fielding performance in the morning session by the home side allowed Sussex to build momentum which they carried on through to the afternoon session. Both Roach and Richardson were unlucky not to pick up a wicket in their spells immediately after lunch with both batsmen in dominant form. Richardson in particular was in fine form and maintaining his position as the leading wicket taker in Division 1 this season.
The breakthrough came in the first over of Gareth Andrew's return spell when Goodwin was well caught at first slip by Vikram Solanki for 60, with a diving catch after parrying the first attempt into the air. This triggered a mini collapse with two more wickets falling in the space of four overs. After reaching a solid 70 off 110 balls Gatting was tempted into a rash shot off Richard Jones's bowling only to edge a catch to Ben Scott. Jones also picked up the wicket of Matt Prior who had just blasted four boundaries for 16 who drove a ball straight to Moeen Ali at extra cover.
Skipper Michael Yardy looked to help the visitors to recover with a 6th wicket stand with Ben Brown before he was caught at cover by Solanki for 13. A light rain shower caused an early tea to be taken with the score on 217-6. In the final session of the day Brown guided Sussex towards a respectable 1st innings total, finishing on 53* by the time bad light caused an early close to the days play. Moeen Ali bowled well, getting some bounce from the wicket, claiming the wicket of Will Adkin, bowled for 10 in the process, to finish with figures of 2-33 from 17 overs. With the new ball taken just before the close of play Worcestershire will hope Richardson and Roach can claim the last two remaining Sussex wickets without them building on what be already a competitive score of 289-8.
Close of Play Day 1: Sussex 289-8.