Briggs: All-round strength helps Sussex promotion push

Danny Briggs. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Danny Briggs. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
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For the historians at Sussex, Danny Briggs’ maiden first-class hundred this week was something of a head-scratcher.

When was the last time if at all, they wondered, did a No.11 batsman made a century in his next match?

While the consulted the records, Briggs reflected on a remarkable few days, while not forgetting that his main role in the side is to bowl effective left-arm spin.

The 26-year-old, who is in his second season with Sussex, helped Vernon Philander add 83 for the tenth wicket against Leicestershire in the Specsavers County Championship last week. It broke a record that had stood since 1909 but more importantly gave Sussex the momentum to go on and record a second successive win which keeps the Second Division leaders in their sights.

Briggs has a career batting average of 18 and has come in as high as No.8 for Sussex. But with Jofra Archer, whom bowling coach Jon Lewis believes is good enough to bat at 6 or 7 later in his career, at No.10 there is enviable depth to Sussex’s batting.

At Arundel on Thursday, against a South Africa A attack containing three bowlers with international experience, Briggs made the most of his promotion to No.7 to score an unbeaten 120, his first hundred in his 83rd first-class match.

“It was just nice to have the time you need at seven to build your innings,” he said. “You look at our side and there are lots of all-rounders in the team. We have already got a lot of runs from the middle and lower order this season and to be able to contribute, wherever you bat, is important as we saw up at Leicester last week.”

Playing at Arundel three weeks ahead of the return Championship fixture against Leicestershire also allowed Briggs the chance to get some overs under his belt at a venue which traditionally favours the spinners on days three and four.

“The pitch we played South Africa A on is turning,” he said. “It’s quite slow but it is there so it’s good reconnaissance really and a good opportunity for me to learn about bowling here as I didn’t play in the four-day game last season.”

Before they return to Arundel Sussex have a Championship game at Hove on June 26 against Gloucestershire which will be a day-night affair, starting at 2pm and played with a pink ball. The county are making admission just £10 for anyone turning up after work from 4pm.