Northants reached a new low in their latest Championship match as they slumped to an innings and 85 run defeat, inside three days, against Sussex at Hove.
To add insult to injury the victory was Sussex's first Championship win since April as it lifted them out of the relegation places but left Northants firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.
In 10 Championship games this season Northants have lost eight and drawn two which leaves them 65 points behind their nearest rivals Lancashire. Six of their eight defeats have been by an innings margin.
In their latest game Northants were woeful as Sussex posted 405 in their first innings, largely thanks to Luke Wright, who hit a magnificent 158. Northants though could not reply with a substantial innings of their own as they lost three wickets for no runs at the start and at one point were then reduced to 34-6. Their lower order briefly rallied but they were finally dismissed for just 116 and forced to follow on by Sussex's captain Ed Joyce. It was always going to be a struggle to get back into the match after this capitulation.
Their second innings fared slightly better as they tried to avoid more embarrassment. They were finally all out for 204, with Steven Crook scoring an unbeaten half-century, but this was not enough to avoid yet another innings defeat this season.
Sussex's opening bowler Steven Magoffin continued his outstanding season by taking match figures of 8-40 and in so doing became the County Championship division one leading wicket-taker.
Northants, promoted to division one this season, will hope to resurrect their season and salvage some pride in the one-day competitions as they face the inevitability of relegation from the Championship back down to division two.
However, they have already seemingly surrendered the T20 title they so dramatically won last season so the newly formed Royal London One-Day Cup looks to be their only other hope when it starts at the end of this month.
Northants' next Championship game is at home against title-chasing Somerset on Saturday and they must re-group quickly for this match in order to avoid yet another crushing defeat. Northants will then take a break from the Championship until the middle of August as they concentrate on one-day cricket.
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