Sussex's successful defence
Last Updated: 22/09/07 7:15pm
Mushtaq: 13 wickets in the match
LV County Championship - Division One
Hove - day four
Sussex 532 (R S C Martin-Jenkins 99, C D Nash 89, R R Montgomerie 82, C J Adams 74, C J Liddle 53, M H Yardy 52) v Worcestershire 213 (D K H Mitchell 70 no, Mushtaq Ahmed 6-93) & 305 (M M Ali 85, G J Batty 84, Mushtaq Ahmed 7-132)
Sussex (22pts) beat Worcestershire (4pts) by an innings and 14 runs
Sussex completed an innings victory over Worcestershire on the final morning, a result which, alongside Lancashire's defeat against Surrey later on Saturday, sees them retain the county championship.
Only a Lancashire victory could deny Sussex the title, but the Red Rose county suffered an agonizing 24-run defeat at the Oval.
On the final day at Hove, Gareth Batty smashed 84 but already-relegated Worcestershire subsided from 190-5 to 305 all out in their second innings to slump to defeat by an innings and 14 runs.
Sussex leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed finished with 7-132 in the second innings for match figures of 13-225.
Nevertheless, the champagne had to remain on ice until the completion of Lancashire's match.
However, the dismissal of Lancashire last man Dominic Cork subsequently prompted scenes of jubilation in Hove, the results meaning that Sussex have now taken the title three times in five years.
Mushtaq Ahmed spun Sussex towards victory over Worcestershire - a result that looks likely to mean the defending champions retain their title.
The visitors lost 13 wickets on day three at Hove and will begin Saturday's still 129 runs behind and with just five wickets in hand.
With a home win looking likely, Sussex know that only an unlikely run chase by Lancashire at The Brit Oval will deny them being crowned champions again.
They will owe a great debt of thanks once again to Mushtaq, who went past 450 championship wickets when taking 6-93 as Worcestershire could muster only 213.
Only Daryl Mitchell escaped his clutches for long in the first innings, the opener carrying his bat to make 70.
The Pakistan leg spinner then picked up three more scalps in the Pears ' second innings, which was at 190-5 when bad light forced an early finish.
Moeen Ali was unbeaten on 76 for the visitors, who are already certain to finish bottom of the Division One table.
Sussex are in a strong position to retain their County Championship title after taking a firm grip on their match against Worcestershire at Hove.
With leaders Lancashire struggling against Surrey at the Oval, Sussex know a victory is likely to bring them a third title in five years, especially if they can pick up maximum bonus points.
The secured a full five batting points by reaching 532 in their first innings in between short spells of rain, before taking two wickets in the final session to leave Worcestershire on 96-2 at the close. The relegated Pears need 383 to avoid the follow-on.
Robin Martin-Jenkins (99) and Chris Liddle (53) shared in a ninth-wicket stand of 120 in 18 overs as Sussex, who have not lost a four-day match at Hove for three years, batted on until 50 minutes after lunch.
Martin-Jenkins fell an agonising one short of his fourth first-class century
having previously been dropped twice.
Liddle, playing in only his second Championship match of the season, also fell to Mitchell having thumped 11 fours in making a career-best 53 from 62 balls.
Sussex skipper Chris Adams advanced to 74 despite a painful finger injury before becoming one of three victims for Kabir Ali.
Sussex made a flying start to their final County Championship match of the season as they bid to overhaul Lancashire and claim a third title in five years.
Richard Montgomerie and Chris Nash shared in the county's highest opening stand for four years by putting on 155 in 40 overs before the reigning champions reached 287-4 at the close of play.
Nash eventually departed for 89, hitting 14 fours and one six from 157 balls, while Montgomerie made 82 from 130 balls, also striking 14 fours.
Once their partnership was broken Sussex's pace slowed, although Michael Yardy (52) also chipped in with a half-century to maintain some of the early momentum.