Newton ton cheers Northants

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Stephen Peters

Stephen Peters, leading Northants in the absence of Andrew Hall, made 55 before Rob Newton hit a hundred off 111 balls

Young Northamptonshire batsman Rob Newton struck his maiden first-class century on a weather-affected first day of the LV= County Championship Division Two match against Leicestershire at Wantage Road.

The 20-year-old smashed 102 off just 116 balls as Northamptonshire recovered from an awful start to reach 186 for six at the close, with stand-in captain Stephen Peters contributing 55.

Skipper Matthew Hoggard took three wickets for Leicestershire, who realistically need a freak set of results to get promoted.

The hosts won the toss and chose to bat, with opener Peters captaining them in the absence of the injured Andrew Hall.

His opening partner, Mal Loye, was caught behind first ball by Tom New off Hoggard, only the fourth delivery of the match.

Alex Wakely threw his wicket away by smashing Nathan Buck straight to James Taylor at point, and David Sales drove Hoggard to Greg Smith at gully to leave the hosts struggling on 23 for three in the ninth over.

That brought Newton, playing only his sixth first-class match, to the crease, and he and Peters together managed to stabilise the Northamptonshire innings.

The latter went to his half-century off 114 balls before lunch, and it did not take Newton long to match his feat, hitting the 54th delivery he faced through midwicket for four off Jigar Naik.

Hoggard claimed his third victim when Peters edged to Jacques Du Toit at slip to break a fourth-wicket partnership of 99.

Rain stopped play nine overs into the afternoon session, forcing an early tea and costing 15 overs.

Shortly after the restart, Naik trapped James Middlebrook lbw for three, but Newton went on to pass his previous highest score of 82, made at Derbyshire last month.

He completed a magnificent hundred off 111 balls by hitting a 14th four, but he was to add just two more runs before finally departing to Claude Henderson, superbly caught by Taylor, diving forward at short-leg.

Only one more over was possible before play was halted for bad light with 23 overs remaining, and the seventh-wicket pairing of David Murphy and David Lucas will resume tomorrow on five and three respectively.

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