Hampshire’s Championship season is finally up and running after they completed a comprehensive victory inside three days at Hove to climb off the bottom of division one.
The six-wicket win is their first in the four-day format this year and catapulted them up into mid-table to suggest they may not be the relegation fodder that their early-season form had indicated.
As poor as they were in the draw with Worcestershire last week, when they were lucky to escape with a tie, they were excellent this time around with the kind of aggression and intent that was regularly on display in their division two title success last term.
And hopefully now they have rediscovered the formula, it will pave the way for some consistent results to challenge at the right end of the table over the second half of the season.
With Sussex resuming on 142 for five – just one run ahead and with five wickets in hand – Hampshire were big favourites going into the third day of the contest.
Their chances looked even better inside just four balls of the morning session when Fidel Edwards (five for 58) completed his first five-wicket haul for the club removing night watchman Steve Magoffin, via James Vince at slip.
All of the Sussex hopes were resting on the shoulders of Luke Wright (84) and Ben Brown (52) and Hampshire suffered a blow when Danny Briggs spilt a relatively straightforward looping catch that would have seen the end of Brown for just 13.
Instead, the Sussex pair seized the initiative with some attacking strokes until Wright was brilliantly run out by Will Smith.
Hampshire effectively sealed the game in the last over before lunch when Jackson Bird found a brute of a delivery to account for Brown, who could only glove to slip.
The Sussex tail then added just three more runs after the restart and having been set 126 to win, Hampshire set about the task with a flurry of early boundaries.
Instead of the watchful cagey stuff that has been on offer for so much of the campaign, Jimmy Adams (30) and Sean Terry ignored any worries about the pitch, went for it and got their rewards with a fast start as they sensed a bonus day off for the squad.
Adams departed as he rifled a catch straight to Mike Yardy but the openers had already put on 51 by that point to set the platform.
Michael Carberry (six) was rather more watchful before he was caught down the leg side and then Vince (10) and Will Smith (six) departed cheaply either side of tea.
But Terry (62 not out), who was recalled for this match in place of Liam Dawson, played some classy shots on his way to a career-best score and jumped for joy as he struck the winning blow as Hampshire cruised home.