Sussex’s Will Beer fell agonisingly short of his maiden first-class century on a rain-ruined second day of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two match against Gloucestershire at Arundel.
The makeshift opener, who is playing only his 18th first-class match in his 12th season with the county, was out for 97 as Sussex reached 351 for 8 before the rain arrived. After several inspections umpires Ian Blackwell and Neil Bainton called off play for the day at 4.40pm with only 30 overs bowled.
There was an audible groan from the crowd when Gloucestershire seamer David Payne found some in-swing to knock back Beer’s off stump and end an innings which lasted seven hours and 41 minutes. He faced 336 balls and hit 14 fours.
Pic special from day one at Arundel
Beer brings cheer for Sussex
Beer had added 21 runs during the morning, putting on 91 in 27 overs for the sixth wicket with South African allrounder David Wiese contributing an entertaining 67, his third half-century of the season.
Wiese hit Australian paceman Chadd Sayers and Payne for straight sixes as well as seven fours before he was pinned in front by Graeme van Burren’s quicker ball.
The slow left-armer got the occasional delivery to turn sharply out of the rough and shortly before lunch he picked up his third wicket as Chris Jordan was bowled for seven.
Sussex skipper Ben Brown admitted his team-mates shared Beer’s frustration when he was out.
“We were so disappointed for him that he didn’t get the hundred he deserved,” he said. “It was a great effort. As a team we have talked about being adaptable and trying to play in a different way for different conditions.
"The wickets at Arundel can be slow and you can get bowled out for 150 trying to force the pace so the way he played, which allowed the rest of us to bat around him, was an exceptional effort and it’s a shame he didn’t get the hundred he deserved.”
Sayers, the Australian fast bowler who is making his Gloucestershire debut, felt his side have been unlucky with the ball.
“The boys stuck at it,” he said. “We bowled well, especially on the first day when there was a lot of playing and missing. We could have bowled them out for 150 quite easily.
“The weather has ruined today but when we get our chance to bat we’ve just got to do as well as we can and try and get as many bonus points. It does look like it is going to be a one-innings match now with all the rain around.”