Emotional ton for Nash as Sussex take control of Essex clash

Graham Napier took three wickets on day one

Graham Napier took three wickets on day one - Credit: Su Anderson

Chris Nash dedicated the 20th hundred of his career to former team-mate Matt Hobden as Sussex shaded the first-day honours against Essex in Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship at Hove.

Nash and his team-mates had attended a pre-match ceremony where Hobden’s parents and his two brothers planted a tree in memory of the 22-year-old, who died in January, before both teams stood in a minute’s silence at the start of play. Wearing Hobden’s No.19 shirt, Nash made 119 out of a first-wicket stand of 188 with Ed Joyce, who made 61.

Six wickets then fell for 101 to a mixture of good bowling and rash strokes before Ollie Robinson made an aggressive half-century to help Sussex reach 355 for eight at stumps.

Nash raced to his half-century off 52 balls, hitting Matt Dixon for four boundaries in the Australian seamer’s second over.

Joyce was more cautious and was dropped on three by Jesse Ryder, diving to his right at third slip, off Jamie Porter.

But Essex’s attack was guilty of bowling too much loose stuff before lunch and Nash was untroubled as he reached his century off 113 balls. Joyce went to 50 with a boundary off Dixon soon afterwards and it was only when skipper Ryan ten Doeschate brought himself on as the seventh Essex bowler that they made a breakthrough when Joyce feathered a thin edge to wicketkeeper James Foster.

As often happens after a big stand another wicket fell quickly with Nash departing two balls later.

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Sussex struggled to pick up the momentum again either side of tea. Ross Taylor’s first innings for the club ended on 12 and Essex picked up two more wickets in successive overs immediately after tea.

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