Newton injury overshadows Sales ton
Rob Newton suffered a fractured bone just above his left wrist as Northamptonshire were made to fight hard to reach 244 for four on day one of their LV= County Championship Division Two match against Kent at Canterbury.
David Sales and James Middlebrook added an unbroken 157 for the fifth wicket to boost Northants after they had slipped from 69 for one to 87 for four in the first hour after lunch.
In the end Kent’s attack were made to toil on a slow surface. Sales, who batted superbly, was unbeaten on 104 at stumps, while Middlebrook was still there on 57.
But the injury to Newton overshadowed the day for Northants, who now fear the 22-year-old batsman will miss the start of the Friends Life t20 in early June.
The fracture is expected to sideline him for between four and five weeks and he will, of course, play no further part in this game.
Newton retired hurt on 23, after initially facing two more balls from Matt Coles following the blow from a rising delivery from the England Lions fast bowler.
He had needed five minutes of treatment on the field from the physio before deciding to bat on, but when he clipped the second ball after the resumption wide of mid-on for two runs he signalled to the dressing room that the pain in his arm was too great to continue.
Northants were 46 without loss when Newton went off, having won the toss and decided to take use of a slow but good-looking St Lawrence Ground pitch.
Stephen Peters also batted well in that opening stand, but Newton’s replacement at the crease, Kyle Coetzer, departed before lunch.
Coetzer was bowled by Mark Davies, aiming to drive the former Durham seamer, and when Peters fell to the second ball after the lunch interval, lbw for 34 to a nip-backer from Darren Stevens, it triggered a mini-collapse which left Kent well on top.
Charlie Shreck did the further damage, having Andrew Hall well held at long-leg by Davies when the Northants captain skied an attempted pull and then bowling Niall O’Brien through the gate as the left-hander pushed defensively at a superb ball that swung back into him and clipped the top of the stumps.
That proved to be the last Kent success of the day as Sales, with his first championship century for almost two years, and Middlebrook built their fine partnership. Former Northants captain Sales reached his hundred from 196 balls, with 11 fours, and at stumps he had batted for almost four and a half hours.
Middlebrook completed his fifty off 158 deliveries, with just three fours, and proved to be the perfect foil for Sales, who played some lovely early strokes against James Tredwell’s off-spin and then took successive leg-side boundaries off Shreck, armed with the second new ball, to go swiftly into the nineties.