Newton ton boosts Northants
Rob Newton struck his second century of the season as Northamptonshire edged the first day of their LV= County Championship match against Division Two leaders Derbyshire.
Newton made a brilliant 115 off 174 balls as Northamptonshire closed on 311 for six, with his knock including 13 fours and one huge six over midwicket.
Derbyshire took wickets at regular intervals throughout the day but could not put the hosts under any real pressure as Tony Palladino and David Wainwright claimed two victims each.
Northamptonshire chose to bat, yet lost Kyle Coetzer in just the third over when he left a Palladino delivery that hit off stump.
David Sales became the second batsman to lose his wicket without playing a shot; he was trapped lbw by Wainwright to depart for 26.
Ireland international Niall O'Brien had started slowly as an opener but pushed his way to 41, only to edge Wainwright to Wes Durston at slip.
The hosts reached lunch on 122 for three but were to lose Alex Wakely for 37 in the afternoon when he tamely chipped Jon Clare to Matt Lineker at short midwicket.
Newton, however, stuck around to complete a half-century off 87 balls in a quiet session that offered very few chances to the Derbyshire attack.
Northamptonshire resumed after tea on 200 for four with Newton and captain Andrew Hall hoping for a similarly trouble-free evening.
Sadly for Hall, that was not the case as he was caught by wicketkeeper Tom Poynton off Ross Whiteley after crawling to 15 from 78 balls in the fourth over of the session.
The visitors decided to take the second new ball immediately, but that did not stop Newton completing the fourth century of his career, off 165 balls.
However, he finally perished with nine overs left, edging behind to give Palladino his second wicket and fall just two runs short of a career-best score.
James Middlebrook, who made a century of his own in this fixture last season, then reached 50 off 76 deliveries in the final over of the day.
Middlebrook and wicketkeeper David Murphy will resume tomorrow on 50 and 16 respectively.