Sussex paceman Stuart Whittingham has personally apologised for the accidental beamer which may have broken an opponent’s hand.

Whitingham, pictured, struck Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman during day one of Sussex’s must-win County Championship tussle at Hove.

He went in to say sorry after stumps had been drawn at 338-9 – and was absolved of blame by both skippers.

Sussex captain Ben Brown said: “I know Billy quite well and it’s a real shame for him.

“Stuart went in afterwards to apologise. It was just one of those unfortunate things.”

Godleman batted on to make 51 as Sussex were subjected to a long day in the field after putting the visitors in.

He said: “I got hit by an accidental beamer from Stuart Whittingham and it looks as if I have broken my hand.

“I’ll know more in the next 24 hours when I see a specialist but it looks as if my season is over which is obviously frustrating.”

Sussex need to win to take advantage of their game in hand on Worcestershire in the battle for promotion from the second division.

Their bowlers struggled to make their skipper’s bold call to out Derbyshire in pay dividends.

Brown said: “It was a see-saw day. We were a long way short in the first hour with how we wanted to bowl so to end up getting them nine down means we probably just shaded the day on a pretty flat wicket.”